7 September 2017

Burundi: Malaria Cases Significantly Decreased, Health Ministry Says

The spokesman for the Ministry of Health announced on 6 September that malaria cases have significantly decreased thanks to government's efforts to combat this malaria epidemic. The population complain that they did not have mosquito nets as planned in the response plan.

On 13 March, the Minister of Health officially declared that Burundi was facing an epidemic of malaria. The spokesman for this ministry, Thaddée Ndikumana told journalists on 6 September that the cases of malaria have significantly decreased.

"Since the ministry declared malaria as an epidemic, it has detected more than 252,000 cases of malaria per week. However, it currently records more than 97,000 cases of malaria per week," said Ndikumana.

The Government of Burundi has taken strict measures to deal with this scourge of malaria namely its detection and treatment, he said.

To achieve this, the Ministry of health spokesperson said the government had recruited additional doctors and nurses to support health district staff. "The ministry distributes freely artesunate-amodiaquine medicines to treat malaria patients ... " said Ndikumana.

Some people wonder how the government claims it is fighting malaria, whereas it has not distributed mosquito nets to the population as planned in the response plan. For them, "prevention is better than cure."

"We have been waiting to be given insecticide-treated nets since July. The Ministry of Health officials came to register people living in different houses. They told us they would distribute mosquito nets in July. We waited but to no avail, "said a resident of Buterere, one of the poorest neighborhoods of Bujumbura.

He said he cannot afford to buy mosquito nets for his large family. "A mosquito net costs at least BIF 4000, I am no able to buy them. My family is in danger, "he said.

Ndikumana said the government's efforts will be complemented by the next distribution of long-lasting insecticide-treated nets.

"More than 6 million mosquito nets will be given out. They are stored in provincial offices of health care, "he said."We started the distribution at the communal level. Health centers and schools will follow,"Ndikumana said.

He also said the Ministry will shortly announce the date for the official launch of insecticide-treated nets distribution.


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