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Since the project was launched in 1999, malaria incidence has fallen by as much as 96% in KZN, 75% in Mpumalanga, 91% in Swaziland and 86% in Maputo Province, Mozambique.
The Lubombo region is home to the Greater St Lucia Wetlands, the diving havens of Ponta de Ouro in Mozambique and the cultural hotspots in Swaziland.
The project has been such a success it is now being viewed as a model for scaling up control activities in Southern Africa, says Medical Research Council`s Dr Brian Sharp. “The success of the programme has had a very positive impact on the socio-economic development in the region. Tourists are pouring into the region because one of the biggest tourist attractions in KwaZulu Natal, Lake St Lucia, is now malaria free,” he says.
The LSDI is a development project spearheaded by the governments of South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique, aiming to foster economic growth and development in the area. The LSDI has a malaria control component because malaria has been identified as a major inhibitor to investment and economic growth.