Mosquitoes give Byo residents sleepless nights

The Chronicle

Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Columnist
Hovering seamlessly at ear level with a persistent and inconvenient whine, mosquitoes leave bites in you that later lead to itchy and swollen welts.

With their slender, segmented bodies, a pair of halters, three pairs of long hair-like legs and stretched mouthparts, mosquitoes give the people of Bulawayo a torrent of sleepless nights.

For the people of Bulawayo, twilight marks the start of another nightmarish experience punctuated by endless mosquito bites.

The tiny insects invade their homes, creating a cacophony of irritating, ear piercing buzzing that robs them of hours of peaceful sleep.

The hot weather coupled with the failure of the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to spray the breeding areas has worsened the plight of residents as they continue to endure the agony of daily mosquito attacks.

Unlike other areas of the country where malaria is endemic, mosquitoes in Bulawayo are just a nuisance rather than a serious threat.

In interviews, residents who spoke to Chronicle criticized the council for not spraying mosquito breeding areas in swampy areas.

Mr Elson Denhe from Njube said bedtime for them has turned into a terrible nightmare due to the constant buzzing of mosquitoes.

“We have sleepless nights because of mosquitoes, which have become a thorn in the flesh. Our houses are built near a stream that flows into the Mazayi River and it has become a breeding ground for mosquitoes, ”he said.

“The council used to spray these areas, but for the past five years it hasn’t and it’s affecting us as residents now.”

Another resident, Ms Margaret Gomba, said the situation was made worse by ruptures of permanent sewer lines, which are not dealt with in time.

Ms. Margaret Gomba

“We know mosquitoes are synonymous with the summer season, but what exacerbates this threat is the fact that city council is not addressing the bursting sewer lines. Every day you find effluent flowing through streets and homes, creating breeding ground for mosquitoes, ”she said.

Mr. Melusi Ndlovu from New Magwegwe said the mosquito problem in Bulawayo is a time bomb for health.

“Mosquitoes are known to be vectors that transmit malaria, a deadly disease, through their bites and if our local authority fails to spray the breeding areas, we risk facing a serious health crisis in Bulawayo”, did he declare.

Mr. Melusi Ndlovu

Ms. Moyo from Makokoba said that due to the sweltering heat, they were forced to drop the blankets, giving mosquitoes the opportunity to strike.

“We just can’t sleep with these mosquitoes hovering over our heads every nightfall. They are a nuisance and in Makokoba we have a problem with the bursting of sewer pipes leading to the formation of stagnant water puddles, ”she said.

“The council, through its pest control unit, should fumigate these breeding spaces during this season, but unfortunately they are not doing anything. “

Mosquito breeding peaks during the hot and humid months, mainly from September to March. The Ministry of Health and Children brings medicines and equipment for the treatment of malaria to the city.

BCC’s director of corporate communications, Ms. Nesisa Mpofu, said that although the board has a mosquito control program, it faces challenges in procuring chemicals to kill the larvae in them. breeding sites and labor shortages.

“The Council has a mosquito control program which involves spraying streams and bodies of water to control mosquito larvae as well as residual indoor spraying, which is a method of controlling adult mosquitoes. by spraying residual insecticides in homes, ”she said.

“Larvicides did not start due to stockouts of chemicals and human resource shortages. Chemicals are not available locally and therefore prices fluctuate, resulting in frequent stockouts.

Ms Mpofu said the coronavirus pandemic has also had a negative impact on their program as the same teams have been overwhelmed by the need to carry out disinfections in accordance with Covid-19 prevention protocols.

“There is also riverbank cleaning which involves removing growth in streams to prevent pooling of water which provides breeding grounds for mosquitoes,” she said. .

Ms. Mpofu said the whole town was affected by the mosquitoes. She said they tasked a team to closely monitor water bodies open for any breeding.

“This is an ongoing process and members of the public are also encouraged to report any possible source of mosquito breeding so that urgent action can be taken. However, it should be noted that mosquito control is everyone’s responsibility and therefore we should all take an active role in destroying their breeding sites, ”she said.

Mosquitoes breed in shallow, stagnant water, empty containers such as cans, drums, plastics and tires, gutters, disused swimming pools and fish ponds, pits, reservoirs and reservoirs , including septic tanks.

“All empty containers should be placed under a roof or folded down to prevent water collection. If they are not being used, dispose of them immediately. Clear the leaves from the roof gutters before the rains start to avoid blockages. Once the gutters and drains are blocked, rainwater collects and mosquitoes breed in them, ”Ms. Mpofu said.

“Disused swimming pools and fish ponds collect water and mosquitoes breed there. A few drops of paraffin per week prevents mosquitoes from breeding and covering the pool with plastic sheeting also helps.

Ms Mpofu said the mosquitoes found in the city are mainly culex species that bite terribly at night but do not carry parasites or pathogens harmful to humans.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), deaths from malaria have fallen sharply in Zimbabwe, with the country achieving a 79% reduction in cases between 2004 and 2020.

In Zimbabwe, statistics consistently show that the disease remains a major challenge in some districts, especially in seven of the country’s 10 provinces.

WHO recommends protecting all people at risk of malaria through effective control of malaria vectors. Two forms of vector control – insecticide-treated bed nets and indoor residual spraying – are effective in a wide variety of circumstances.

British physician Ronald Ross, who was the first person to discover the malaria parasite living in the gastrointestinal tract of the Anopheles mosquito in the 19th century, recruited teams to remove larvae from stagnant ponds and marshes. – @mashnets

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