|Battle to control tsetse fly far from over|
|Friday, 13 July 2012 19:17|
Anastasia Lubimbi (19) lies motionless on a reed mat inside her mother’s hut wearing only a torn jersey and pants as her only protection against the w inter cold.
An occasional cough is the only indication that she is still alive.
The young woman suffers from advanced stage sleeping sickness, also known as trypanosome brucei rhodisiense, which causes the inflammation of the brain, with the patient eventually drifting into a coma and death if there is no medical intervention.
The area covering the three provinces of Mashonaland West, Midlands and Matabeleland North is at the mercy of the rampaging flies, believed to be found in about 7 percent of the country’s total area.
The Zambezi breeds the dangerous fly and feeds it to the outlying areas along the valley, leaving both humans and animals at the mercy of the perilous vector.
“It is estimated that tsetse is found in about 7 percent of Zimbabwe’s total area and trypanosomiais has a negative effect on livestock production in the areas along the Zambezi Valley,” said Mr Riverson Chandamale, a field officer with the Department of Tsetse Control, which falls under the Ministry of Agriculture.
Mr Chandamale said deployment of traps and targets was one of the most effective ways of reducing the incidence of trypanosomiais.
problem could be dealt with.
“Taking care of the tsetse vector is not the responsibility of the Government alone as all stakeholders must come together in eradicating these flies. There is so much economic activity which can be done if this area is totally cleared off the vector,” he said.
Village headman Mereki Murwira, of the Nyamakara area in Siyavukwe, said the situation had become dire and the death of domestic animals had made life difficult.
Sabhuku Mereki bemoaned the erratic road network which is in bad shape, therefore preventing the movement of vehicles of organisations that wanted to assist them.
The hunting of the tsetse fly and all subsequent Government-sanctioned tsetse hunting operations began before 1940, with the aim of eliminating large wild vertebrate hosts which tsetse depend on for food.
Valley, life is tough, as they battle to control the fly.