Madagascar launches new fight against malaria
Samples of the new high-tech laboratory tools unveiled in Madagascar on April 4, 2018, to help fight malaria. PHOTO | RIVONALA RAZAFISON | NATION MEDIA GROUP
The Institut Pasteur de Madagascar (IPM) and the International Rotary Club Foundation have launched a programme to fight malaria in the country.
The Malaria Action 2017-2018 was launched in Antananarivo on Wednesday during the unveiling of $90,000 new high performance laboratory equipment and drugs for the fight against infectious disease.
“These new tools will speed up the accurate diagnosis for quicker remedial action,” said Prof Milijaona Randrianarivelojosia, the head of Malaria Research Unit at IPM.
“They will also help us to improve teaching activities and the training for the public health personnel,” he added.
The head of the Immunology of Infectious Diseases Unit at IPM, Prof Vigan Womas, explained how a biobank enabled the long-lasting storage of any samples in good conditions.
The materials, she went on, were necessary to monitor the evolution of the disease transmission and its treatments for years or even decades.
“Malaria remains one of the major public health challenges in Madagascar,” said Prof Womas.
Over 475,330 malaria infections and 443 deaths have been reported in Madagascar in the past two years ago, according to official figures.
Severe malaria is among the top five causes of reported overall mortality in Madagascar.
The island nation has since 2010 faced several malaria epidemics, hence the new strategy.
According to IPM and the Malaria Control Programme, there was a resurgence of the disease in various parts of the island state.
The highlands and the plains of Antananarivo in particular were under close watch for being more vulnerable.
Madagascar witnessed a decade of health improvements between 1997 and 2008, including a 50 per cent decrease in under-five mortality.
However, a 2009 coup d’état resulted in the suspension of US government support to the country, occasioning a negative impact in access to, and quality of, health services.