16 Sep 2005

Rate of malaria deaths in Solomon Islands rising despite renewed control efforts

11:31 am on 16 September 2005

Health officials in Solomon Islands say the number of deaths from malaria is continuing to rise, and areas on Guadalcanal are now showing the highest incidence of the disease in the world.

The Director of the Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, Bernard Bakote'e, says there are more than 6-hundred malaria cases per thousand people in the Lambi area of Guadalcanal.

Mr Bakote'e says severe malaria cases tripled in Guadalcanal in 2004 - the same year in which a control programme was reintroduced after ethnic tension.

"Guadalcanal Province is one of the provinces where there was the ethnic tension and the programme in here, the malaria control programme in this province, was completely out. There was no programme at all."

The Japanese government has sent two researchers to Solomon Islands to compile a report on the reasons for the high malaria incidence.