November 18, 2003
Teams from Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Akuem, in the Aweil area of Bahr-el-Ghazal province of southern Sudan, have seen a massive influx of malaria patients. Since the end of June, MSF has treated more than 52,000 patients in the last four months, including more than 800 severe cases, or an average of 5,000 each week.
"Malaria is endemic in this region, but there has been a sustained increase in the number of cases this year in comparison to previous years," said Laura Brav (ou Greg Elder) , medical coordinator for MSF in Southern Sudan. "In July, the number of consultations and hospitalizations for malaria exploded in Akuem. We have treated nearly five times as many patients than this time last year." This year the increase in the number of cases also occurred earlier than the usual August peak season.
Two years of drought and a heavier rainy season than previous years have created ideal conditions for the proliferation of mosquitoes, and MSF expects to be treating a high number of malaria patients until the end of the year. This increase in the number of cases of malaria follows a serious food crisis that has affected the province since April (children under the age of 5 are particularly vulnerable to malaria when weakened by malnutrition.)
MSF had been running one Therapeutic Feeding Center (TFC) but needed to open two more in Akuem hospital and three Supplementary Feeding Centers (SFC) in Madhol and Gok Machar. Over these 6 months, MSF treated 1,400 severely malnourished patients and 12,000 moderately malnourished patients. With malnutrition decreasing, MSF has been able to transform these feeding centers into malaria treatment facilities.
© 2013 Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)