Mbire (New Ziana) – Deeply troubled by the menace of swarms of malaria-infecting mosquitos, the Mbire community in the remote north of the country has found an innovative, indigenous way of beating the deadly insects – cow and elephant dung.
Burning dry cow and elephant dung, which is widely available in the wildlife-rich area, intoxicates and suffocates mosquitos to harmlessness, an innovative way the Mbire community has found to tackle the rampant problem of the malaria-infecting insects.
Arid and hot, Mbire has ideal climatic conditions for mosquito breeding, and quite a number of people succumb to malaria in the area every year.
Spurred by the discovery of the effectiveness of cow and elephant dung in tackling malaria, the Ministry of Health and Child Care has leapt to the idea, and its local officials were now encouraging Mbire communities to adopt use of the ‘indigenous mosquito repellents.’
Mbire district medical officer, Dr Evan Chidziro, said burning dung was one of the main malaria prevention measures, in addition to mosquito nets and fumigation, that health authorities in the district were encouraging people to use.
Most conventional means of dealing with mosquitos, such as nets and fumigants, were beyond the affordability levels of the communities, hence the promotion of the use of cow and elephant dung.
“The burning of dung is one of those initiatives we came up with to save our population besides giving them treated nets and providing fumigation services. We also urge members of the community to burn litter, fill all potholes – they act as mosquito habitats,” Dr Chidziro said.
The district borders the mighty Zambezi River, a vast, perennial breeding ground for mosquitos.