MSF completes DRC malaria project

The non-profit public health organization Medicins Sans Frontiers, also known as Doctors Without Borders, recently handed over control of an emergency malaria project to the Democratic Republic of Congo after treating nearly 40,000 people for the mosquito-borne illness.

The four-month long project operated in Kikondja, a remote area in the DRC's Katanga province. MSF initially sent a team to the area in response to reports that more than 1,000 people were showing signs of possible cholera infection. The team soon discovered that large numbers of children were dying from malaria and sent another team to run a series of mobile clinics.

"During our short intervention, MSF treated almost 40,000 men, women, and children for malaria," Melanie Silbermann, MSF's medical coordinator in Lubumbashi, said. "When we arrived, one in ten of our patients required immediate hospitalization. In the last weeks of our intervention, this was down to one in 100."

Most of the cases were in children under the age of five, and many arrived in critical condition and in need of blood transfusions. MSF worked alongside the Congolese Ministry of Health to ensure that the local health system was not overburdened. Local health centers were supplied with rapid diagnostic tests and artesunate-combination therapy medicine so that the illness can be treated while still in its early stages.