Malaria cut by 90 per cent in Nduta camp

22Apr 2019
Henry Mwangonde
Just back from Kigoma
The Guardian
Malaria cut by 90 per cent in Nduta camp
  • Malaria was the main challenge to most Burundian refugees when they first arrived in 2015, reaching a point where a single health post was receiving 50 to 60-patients per day, according to MSF clinical officer Christina Mabika.

THE use of innovative interventions to combat malaria is paying off at Nduta refugee camp in Kigoma Region after experts managed to reduce the disease by almost 90 percent.

Nduta is one among refugees camps located in the region, served by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the government.

Malaria was a major health challenge in Nduta camp and its surrounding environs though cases have decreased recently, thanks to innovative interventions by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) meaning Doctors Without Borders - an international humanitarian medical non-governmental organization working on provision of health in the camp and surrounding environs.

The vector control, larvae siding, packaging of mosquitoes proved how the use of innovative ideas can help combat the deadly disease.

Malaria was the main challenge to most Burundian refugees when they first arrived in 2015, reaching a point where a single health post was receiving 50 to 60-patients per day, according to MSF clinical officer Christina Mabika.

“In 2016, after consultation with various stakeholders, we agreed that there is need for an immediate intervention strategy to reverse the situation because it was frightening,” said Dr Godson Peter, the vector control manager for MSF.

In his explanation on packaging, Dr Peter said the organization traps mosquitoes from houses and then take them to the vector control unit then stored in petty dishes where they are killed and sought out in species.

According to him, the types being separated are Anopheles Fanestus and Anopheles Gambiae which are the most common mosquitoes in the country. The seeking out also involves separation of female and male Anopheles.

Dr Peter said the idea is to remain with mosquitoes that spread malaria alone (Anopheles Gambiae and Anopheles Fanestus).

“The mosquitoes are later packed into tubes then taken to the Kilimanjaro Medical Catholic University (KMCU) which conducts an analysis and send back the Sporozoite rate (ability to spread malaria) and Entomological rate (ability to bite),” he said.

On larvae siding, Dr Godson said mosquitoes are collected, fed up for various purposes including testing their resistance towards various chemicals used to treat malaria.

He said upon collected the larvae are stored into various environments for them to grow and be used in various experiments to test their resistance to chemicals hence change if needed.

He further clarified that the results gives MSF a clear idea on what to do after realizing the kind of mosquitoes available, hence finding the best interventions strategy.

Dr Saimon Masanja, the medical activity manager for MSF, said in 2017 the organization treated 153,000 malaria patients, but after interventions the number decreased to 66,000 in 2018 which was almost a 50-percent decrease.

The positivity rate also decreased from 57.3 percent to 33.7percent in 2018, he said.

Tanzania has made significant gains in the fight against malaria, with prevalence decreasing by half from 14.4 per cent recorded in 2016 to 7.3 in 2018, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in the just released 2017 Tanzania Malaria Indicator Survey.

New infections for under-five children have dropped to 7.3 per cent, it was noted.

Nduta refugee camp was reopened in 2015 in an effort to relieve overcrowding in Nyarugusu refugee camp, the third largest refugee camp in the world.

Aid agencies needed to move fast, with the relocation of refugees begin ning on the 7th of October, at the start of the rainy season, when 20,000 people were still living in mass shelters on a flood plain.

According to UNHCR 27,500 Burundian refugees were moved from Nyarugusu to Nduta and then on to another camp, Mtendele, between October and December 2015.