MSF says it is responding to rise in malaria infections in Burundi

Médecins Sans Frontières teams in Burundi's Kayanza province assessing and treating patients in the midst of a rise in the incidence of malaria, the organization also known as Doctors Without Borders reported Jan. 29.

In recent months, as heavy rains have fallen and mosquito populations have grown, malaria has been on the increase in the northern province of Kayanza, on the border with Rwanda.

At the end of December, health authorities called upon MSF to conduct an assessment. Its assessment was that incidence of the disease is indeed higher, which prompted the organization to reinforce its response in the area.

Since mid-January, three MSF teams have been running mobile clinics in six sites. These teams offer on-site diagnoses, provide treatment and refer severe cases to the hospital. Thus far, the teams have seen 2,000 patients. Nearly two-thirds tested positive for malaria. More than a quarter of the positive cases were children.

“Symptoms of the disease include high fever, body aches and headaches,” said Goddy Efula Bomana, MSF’s emergency coordinator in Burundi.

“However, this can quickly evolve in some patients into severe malaria with convulsions, coma and possible death. That’s why treatment within the first 24 hours is so important, especially for children.”