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Malaria Outbreak in Afghanistan's Badghis Province
October 30, 2002
Kabul/New York City October 30, 2002 – Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) confirmed an outbreak of malaria in the sub-district of Kharkane, in the western Afghan province of Badghis. An estimated 8,000 people live in Kharkane.
The timing of the outbreak is somewhat surprising, as the malaria season should be ending. Also, according to preliminary results, 90% of the cases involve the most dangerous variant - malaria falciparum - which is uncommon in Afghanistan.
MSF is responding to the outbreak in co-operation with the World Health Organization (WHO), the Afghan Ministry of Health and the NGO Malteser. Patients with the falciparum variant will be treated with an artusenate combination therapy, while those infected with the more common vivax variant will be treated with chloroquine.
Medical needs one year later
One year after the western military campaign on Afghanistan began, MSF is still worried about the level of assistance provided to people in Afghanistan and for the position of Afghan refugees in other countries. Medical care is still far from adequate in large parts of the country and aid organizations cannot reach nearly half of the people because of inaccessibility and insecurity. Consequently, infectious diseases have free reign. With the lack of central authority, large parts of the country are still unsafe.
Refugees under pressure
In Iran and Pakistan the refugees are under strong pressure to return. Many have been intimidated or mistreated and their rights under international law have been violated.
In Afghanistan itself, with relief and food aid failing, returned refugees now face a harsh winter. On top of all this, the international community has not made good on all its pledges for funds for Afghanistan. This has seriously restricted the amount of emergency assistance and reconstruction that is possible.