Humanitarian Exchange articles tagged:Malaria

ECHO – the European Commission Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid – funds relief operations for victims of natural disasters and conflicts outside the European Union. Aid is channelled impartially, straight to victims, regardless of their race, religion or political beliefs. Resources are not limitless and priorities are given to acute needs, with a particular focus on situations where mortality is high, sudden and greater than usual trends. A frequently used term to describe this above-average mortality is ‘excess mortality’. A proper needs assessment is therefore a key element to initiate dialogue between ECHO and a partner seeking funding for a project.…
Children comprise a substantial proportion of those affected by conflict, crises and disasters. The humanitarian community knows all too well their vulnerability in emergencies – in particular to infectious diseases which raise childhood morbidity and mortality. Such diseases are major killers; averting these deaths is the key health intervention, alongside securing basic needs such as water, sanitation and hygiene, food security, adequate nutrition and shelter. Recent debate has highlighted the tremendous challenges to achieving the health-related Millennium Development Goals, and of applying best practice in child health interventions, while still respecting children’s rights to participate and be heard. This article…
Malaria and dengue fever quickly became the major threat facing survivors of the tsunami in Aceh, Indonesia. The rainy season immediately followed the tsunami, and extensive flooding quickly turned many areas where survivors were sheltering into vast brackish breeding sites for mosquitoes. At the same time, much of the local health system had been lost, and there was a lack of capacity to prevent or respond adequately to the likely needs. Widespread resistance to the main drug treatment (chloroquine) further complicated the crisis. Instigating a timely response was a duanting task. Strategy and response On 7 January, following 48 hours…
Malaria is an important cause of illness and death among refugees. The majority of today’s refugees live in malaria-endemic areas: of the 19 million people of concern to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), two-thirds live in malaria-endemic areas. Many factors may promote vulnerability to malaria illness and death among refugees. As other articles in this issue describe, pregnant women and young children are particularly at risk of severe illness and death: in many refugee situations, women of child-bearing age and children make up the majority of the population. Refugee camps are often sited on marginal lands that…
Malaria epidemics are thought to be occurring more frequently than in the past. The reason for this increased frequency is widely debated. However, the most often cited factors are abnormal climate, modifications to the environment, increased parasite resistance to antimalarials and population movements. An estimated 100 million people live in malaria epidemic-prone areas in Africa alone. Epidemic-prone areas are areas where little malaria usually occurs, such as highland zones, arid areas and desert fringes. Because transmission is low, people in these areas are not exposed to malaria as often as people in higher transmission settings, and thus develop little or…
This article reviews the epidemic transmission of malaria in Ethiopia, and the indicators that warned the Ethiopian government about the likelihood of an epidemic from April to December 2003. It examines the responses undertaken by different actors to the epidemic, and places the timing of the response in the context of the epidemic season. Finally, it indicates lessons learnt, with a view to increasing the effectiveness of future responses in similar situations. Malaria transmission in Ethiopia According to the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health, malaria in Ethiopia ranks first in communicable diseases, with 65% of the population living in malarious…
Malaria kills more than a million people each year. Nearly one out of every three of these deaths occurs in an emergency setting – within populations displaced by violence, struggling to get the food, water, shelter and security they need to live, and with unpredictable access to public health services. In these conditions, vulnerability to malaria increases because people are more likely to be bitten by mosquitoes, are often ill with other infections and lack access to health care. When a humanitarian crisis occurs in a malaria-prone area, malaria deaths may exceed those resulting from other more immediate causes –…
The nature of humanitarian crises, and the parts of the world in which they frequently occur, make the management of malaria of critical and urgent importance, and systems for malaria disease management must be set up as a priority in humanitarian emergencies in malaria-endemic regions. A frequent cause of tension in an emergency can be the difference between the needs of malaria control presented by that emergency, and the needs being addressed by national malaria control mechanisms in the affected country. In a stable situation, health workers may have been trained to use clinical algorithms adapted to the level of…
In the context of a major humanitarian emergency, malaria constitutes a major public health issue, contributing to significant morbidity and mortality. The complex nature of an emergency means that many issues – such as population displacement, the breakdown of health services, lack of housing, clean water and sanitation – are liable to cause high levels of malaria, or to trigger an outright epidemic. This is particularly the case in Sub-Saharan Africa, where limited resources are available to deal with the problem, even in non-emergency settings. At the same time, it has become increasingly clear that older drug regimens are failing…
Insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) have long been used against mosquito bites, and have been shown to give substantial protection against malaria. This article explores some of the operational issues around the use of ITNs in emergencies. How effective are ITNs in tackling the transmission of malaria? What advantages do treated nets have over untreated ones? What operational constraints exist to the use of ITNs in emergencies? What are the key issues in implementation? Efficacy The efficacy of measures to prevent mosquitoes from biting humans, and so infecting people with the malaria parasite, depends on the habits of the mosquitoes and their…
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