Chiefs in Katete District of Eastern Province have called on government to involve them in malaria elimination efforts.
Chieftainess Kawaza of the Chewa people of Katete and Sinda Districts said the involvement of the traditional leadership in malaria elimination efforts would ease the implementation of the various malaria intervention programs.
Chieftainess Kawaza said this is because the traditional leadership understand and know their people better.
“In every programme, once the traditional leadership is involved, it is workable because we are the ones who know how our people behave and it is easy to implement measures if they are found using mosquito nets outside their usage,” she said.
She said malaria was a public health concern which needed everyone’s effort and the traditional leadership in her chiefdom was ready to take a very active role.
Meanwhile, Chief Mbang’ombe of the Chewa people of Katete and Sinda Districts added that the involvement of the traditional leaders will help to streamline the involvement of community volunteers in different community based developmental projects.
The Chief also added that the involvement of the traditional leaders would help in the selection of community volunteers as sometimes the volunteers selected are not mature enough and suitable for certain engagements.
The traditional leaders said this when a team from Katete District Health Office paid a courtesy call on them at their respective palaces in Katete.
And Programme for the Advancement of Malaria Outcomes (PAMO) Social and Behavior Change (SBC) Officer, Kapasa Sikazwe said the team was mobilising and engaging the traditional leadership in malaria elimination efforts because of their pivotal role in making malaria elimination possible.
Mr Sikazwe said there was a gap in information flow that sometimes the traditional leadership did not know what community health volunteers were doing in their various chiefdoms.
“We have found a gap in the way we are doing things, so we want to improve, probably we have not done enough to explain malaria interventions to increase their access and use and that is why we are here. If we do not engage the traditional leadership then we are lost,” he said.
Meanwhile, Katete District Public Health Officer, Luwiza Banda said as an institution, they could not bridge the gap in the implementation of malaria programmes alone but needed the support of the traditional leadership.