Malaria takes hold in Congo

The number of people treated for malaria in projects run by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in the Demo­cratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has soared by 250% since 2009 in six provinces — half of the vast country — and accelerated even more sharply in recent months.

The reasons for the trend are not clear, although it is thought renewed fighting by militias has made it increasingly difficult for people to access prevention and treatment for the disease.

The agency said the rise was particularly alarming because of a high number of severe malaria patients requiring hospital care and urgent blood transfusions as a result of ­anaemia. It said it had deployed additional emergency medical teams in four provinces.

“Treatment outside the cities remains especially weak due to unaffordability or geographic inaccessibility,” said Dr Jorgen Stassijns, a malaria specialist for the organisation. “In some areas, healthcare is simply non-­existent. Even when treatment is available, the drugs are sometimes inadequate or outdated.”

In 2009, its teams treated more than 45 000 people with malaria. In 2011, the total rose to more than 158 000. So far this year, more than 85 000 people have been treated.

Violence by armed groups may be a primary cause of the increase. Villagers are sometimes too scared to sleep at home under mosquito nets, which were often left behind when they flee. In North and South Kivu provinces, and recently in the northern area in Katanga province, a lack of security and renewed fighting prevents people obtaining healthcare.

The organisation quoted an unnamed nurse at a clinic in South Kivu as saying: “Some of our patients come from 10km away to our health centre, on foot, bicycle, motorcycle or in a canoe if they live on the peninsula [and] most are ill with malaria.

“Each week we treat about 600 to 900 patients, often more than 100 patients a day. MSF distributes mosquito nets daily. They are given to pregnant women during their pre­natal consultations, as well as to child­ren who test positive for malaria and are under the age of five.

Alex Perry, author of a book about the international effort, Lifeblood: How to Change the World, One Dead Mosquito at a Time, said: “This latest news from Congo compounds a bad few months for the global campaign against malaria. In February a Lancet study claimed the number of deaths each year was 1.2-million, not 655000 as the campaign claimed. Earlier this month, researchers found evidence that resistance to the main treatment, artemisinin, was rising in Asia.” —

Advertisting

‘Judge President Hlophe tried to influence allocation of judges to...

Deputy Judge President Patricia Goliath accuses Hlophe of attempting to influence her to allocate the case to judges he perceived as ‘favourably disposed’ to former president Jacob Zuma

SAA grounds flights due to low demand

SAA is working to accommodate customers on its sister airlines after it cancelled flights due to low demand

Isabel dos Santos did not loot Angola alone

Once again, Western auditing and consulting firms shamelessly facilitated corruption on an international scale

Lekwa municipality won’t answer questions about why children died in...

Three children are dead. More than a dozen homes have been gutted by fires in the past six months. And, as...
Advertising

Press Releases

Upskill yourself to land your dream job in 2020

If you received admission to an IIE Higher Certificate qualification, once you have graduated, you can articulate to an IIE Diploma and then IIE Bachelor's degree at IIE Rosebank College.

South Africans unsure of what to expect in 2020

Almost half (49%) of South Africans, 15 years and older, agree or strongly agree that they view 2020 with optimism.

KZN teacher educators jet off to Columbia University

A group of academics were selected as participants of the programme focused on PhD completion, mobility, supervision capacity development and the generation of high-impact research.

New-style star accretion bursts dazzle astronomers

Associate Professor James O Chibueze and Dr SP van den Heever are part of an international team of astronomers studying the G358-MM1 high-mass protostar.

2020 risk outlook: Use GRC to build resilience

GRC activities can be used profitably to develop an integrated risk picture and response, says ContinuitySA.

MTN voted best mobile network

An independent report found MTN to be the best mobile network in SA in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Is your tertiary institution is accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

Is your tertiary institution accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.