South Sudan could potentially experience severe malaria season this year

Potentially severe malaria season for South Sudan
Potentially severe malaria season for South Sudan | Courtesy of
Notable increases in malaria throughout South Sudan have health professionals concerned whether there will be a second season in a row of unusually high malaria case numbers.

To stop a severe malaria season, health workers must improve the access that people in the most at-risk areas have to malaria treatments, according to Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF).

In 2014, malaria caused 72 percent of the region’s disease-related deaths. Last year, MSF provided more than 170,000 patients with malaria treatments in South Sudan. This figure is more than triple the number of patients who sought malaria treatments at MSF facilities in 2013.

In November 2014, MSF stated that health workers must improve the access that people in at-risk malaria areas have to malaria treatment. The majority of patients arrived at MSF facilities in life-threatening conditions after they had made long journeys to the facilities. Many times their local health facilities did not have adequate treatments for malaria.

For this coming year, MSF has warned that there is unnerving evidence that South Sudan could be on the brink of a second unusually severe malaria season. There have been significantly high numbers of malaria patients within the season’s first three months.

South Sudan’s malaria season is connected to the country’s rainy season, which is between May and December. Because the rains have not yet arrived in the country for 2015, MSF is more concerned than ever that sudden increased rain could raise malaria rates.