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MALARIA ALERT IN SOUTH AFRICA

High numbers of malaria cases are being reported in the malaria transmission areas (Vhembe and Mopani districts) in Limpopo (including some cases in farms along the Lephalale River, Waterberg) and in Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga province.

Compared to previous years, a modest increase in cases in the Kruger National Park and private reserves in the area has been confirmed. This follows a very busy 2017 malaria season in the entire southern African region, which peaked in April and May and extended into June.

High rainfall, humidity and ambient temperatures provided ideal conditions for malaria mosquito breeding and contributed to an increase in malaria cases. Unusually mild winter temperatures in malaria areas have allowed for ongoing mosquito and parasite development and led to an early and busy malaria season which started already in August 2017.

The key prevention strategy of the malaria control programmes in endemic areas is spraying of households with long acting residual insecticides (IRS) which target indoor feeding mosquitos. This IRS programme is in progress in both Limpopo and Mpumalanga and is planned to target a larger area than in 2016.

Early treatment of malaria cases is a key strategy. The antimalarial drug, Coartem remains highly effective in the treatment of uncomplicated malaria, provided there is early diagnosis and urgent commencement of treatment. Travellers from, or residents of malaria transmission areas in Limpopo and Mpumalanga, and the far northern KwaZulu-Natal and neighbouring countries such as Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia who present with fever and ‘flu-like’ illness must have an urgent blood test and malaria treated as a medical emergency. Misdiagnosis of malaria as influenza is not uncommon with disastrous consequences in a number of persons.

The Department of Health in South Africa is ensuring universal coverage of key interventions. This includes Indoor Residual Spraying, effective case management and ensuring that health promotion messages reach communities at risk of contracting the disease. All travellers to malaria risk areas must take precautions to prevent mosquito bites and medication to prevent malaria should be highly considered.

• Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected Anopheles mosquitoes, which generally bite at night.

• Malaria is preventable, treatable and curable.

• Travelers from non-endemic areas to malaria endemic areas and countries are vulnerable to the disease and need to take reventative measures.

• Malaria symptoms appear within 10-15 days after the infective mosquito bite.

• The symptoms include, fever, headache, chills and vomiting.

• Early malaria diagnosis and treatment reduces disease severity and prevents deaths.

• If people suspect that they have having malaria, they should immediately consult their health service provider to be tested and treated.

• If not treated within 24 hours, malaria can progress to severe illness and death. Individuals are therefore advised to take personal protection methods when visiting malaria endemic areas within and outside South Africa.

• Everyone is at risk of contracting malaria in malarious areas (see attached malaria risk map for south Africa), but there are some higher risk groups including, children under five years of age, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, travellers from non-endemic areas and immigrant workers.

For Enquiries, please contact: Mr Popo Maja: Head of Communications National Department of Health

Mobile: 072 585 3219

E-mail: Popo.Maja@health.gov.za

Message to Grade 12 Learners

This is a message to all the Grade 12 learners in Mpumalanga province. On 23 October 2017, you will begin writing your all-important final year examinations.

Your journey of enduring success from foundation, intermediate, GET and now FET level should give you confidence in your abilities to succeed. All that groundwork was intended to prepare you for this most crucial exam. 

This means that each one of you has the ability to successfully pass Grade 12.

I am aware that for many of you in Grade 12, this has been a challenging year for various reasons. I am also aware that this is a very challenging time for learners. This is because of an awareness of the fact that the final year of high school is a crucial year for deciding what you will be doing in the years following your completion of high school education.

But most importantly, you still stand tall ready to tackle this last impediment. This is testament to your resilience and strength of character. I have every faith that you will do well and make us all, and especially yourselves, very proud.

I wish to urge all parents, guardians and relations to support our learners in every way possible. Please allow them space to study and to rest in-between swotting sessions. 
My advice to our learners is – use this time wisely to review all the work you have done throughout the year.

More importantly seek assistance in areas of difficulty from fellow learners, teachers and use all resources at your disposal to understand your subjects better.  Your teachers have done their best to prepare you for the end of the year examinations.They have worked very hard to give you all the tools you will need to pass your impending exams.

The department, teachers, parents, families and the whole of South Africa supports and loves you.  

Back to School

The Department takes this time to welcome teachers, non-teaching staff and learners from their well deserved school holiday. This quarter has 45 actual school days all of which must be used without fail to prepare and to write final examination by all learners. It is therefore imperative that every effort is made to create an enabling school environment where teaching and learning thrive every second, minute , hour and every school day.

The Department further requests communities to support teachers and learners more than before to ensure that teaching and learning remain the only order in all schools. "Education is the only fundamental pillar for community emancipation from ignorance, fear and poverty. We are therefore obligated to ensure that schools are supported at all times so that they in turn continue to deliver on what they are meant to.

It is only through the acquisition of education that our people will be free from the tripple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality ." MEC Mhaule

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