Millions infected, thousands dead in Burundi malaria crisis

From OMEGA SSUUNA in Bujumbura, Burundi
BUJUMBURA, (CAJ News) – A FATAL outbreak of malaria has claimed the lives of more than 3 000 Burundians since it erupted in the north of the country in 2016.
The deaths are from about 10 million cases between 2016 and last week.
In 2016, 3 000 died while this year alone, already 800 Burundians have died from the disease out of about 2 million cases reported.
The statistics for 2017 thus far represent a 13% increase from the same period last year.
Speaking in Bujumbura, minister of public health and the fight against AIDS, Josiane Nijimbere, said the figures were based based on the conclusions of a mission of by World Health Organisation experts and the latest update by the national epidemiological surveillance system.
Some 8,169 million confirmed malaria cases were notified during 2016, particularly in the northern and northeastern provinces of Kirundo, Muyinga, Karusi, Cankuzo and to a lesser extent Ngozi, Kayanza, Gitega, Rutana and Ruyigi.
Surveillance missions attributed the current magnitude to climate change and non-optimal use of preventive measures such as insecticide-treated mosquito nets and the expansion of rice crops having multiplied the environments favorable to the multiplication of the mosquitoes.
Nijimbere said the ministry was finalizing a response plan worth over US$31 million (R395 million) to address the epidemic from multiple angles.
Emergency drug orders are also underway.
Burundi, with a population of 12 million is also enduring political problems that has led to 370 000 fleeing the country.
Deteriorating socioeconomic conditions are driving humanitarian needs for basic health services.
CAJ News

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