WHO Supports Botswana To Strengthen System Operations Towards Malaria And Other Vector Borne Disease Elimination
The Government of Botswana has demonstrated commitment to accelerate malaria and other vector borne disease (VBD) elimination. WHO supported the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MoHW) to develop a draft Integrated Vector Management (IVM) strategic plan 2019-2023. This strategic document is intended to facilitate better planning and implementation of vector control aiming at malaria and other VBDs elimination in the country.
Since IVM is a new concept to Botswana and is heavily reliant on inter-sectoral collaboration, MoHW convened a wide range of stakeholder consultation to finalise and create buy-in for implementation of this key strategic document. This meeting was held on 23rd - 24th January 2019 in Gaborone, Botswana. WHO also facilitated this meeting that brought together different ministries, parastatals, non-governmental organisations and private sector entities that have a direct or indirect impact in disease vector proliferation and control in Botswana. Participants included veterinarians, medical doctors, agriculture, veterinary and medical entomologists, wildlife biologists, environmentalists, engineers, academia and researchers, advocacy and communication expects, among others.
The meeting endorsed the IVM strategy and the embedded inter-sectoral coordination mechanism for sound implementation. The meeting also identified overlaps between Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Programmes in MoHW and thus proposed integration for efficiency and effective implementation.
Botswana has been targeted for malaria elimination by the year 2020. The country has also been targeted for elimination of NTDs by the year 2023. NTDs found and suspected in Botswana, except for leprosy, are vector-borne. Schistosomiasis and trachoma are priority NTDs targeted for elimination. Surveys conducted by the NTD Unit in MoHW from 2015 have detected Schistosomiasis cases in 6 of the 27 districts in the country and six percent of blindness cases in Botswana are due to trachoma. There is lack of reliable data on lymphatic filariasis, plaque and leishmaniasis. Vectors to these NTDs thrive under local environmental conditions. There is risk of arboviral diseases, like yellow fever, due to the presence of vector mosquitoes and vicinity to endemic countries.
The last case of human African trypanosomiasis was detected in 1990. On-going surveillance conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture has not detected the disease vector (tsetse fly) in more than 20 years.
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