Over 2 million rapid tests and nearly 2 million treatment cycles will save lives
ANTANANARIVO – “While we are currently battling the COVID-19 outbreak, we must remain vigilant about other threats to our public health and safety. Malaria remains a significant challenge and risk to the health and wellbeing of Malagasy people, “said US Ambassador Michael P. Pelletier, when he announced a significant US government donation to identify and treat malaria cases in Madagascar.
The U.S. government is donating $ 1.8 million in medical supplies to the Department of Health through the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to test and treat malaria . This includes over 2 million rapid malaria tests and nearly 2 million courses of treatment to cure those who test positive for the disease.
Malaria is a dangerous infection that needs prompt treatment to prevent serious consequences and death. In the first six months of 2020, over 1 million people across Madagascar were diagnosed with malaria and over 600 people died from the disease. With rapid treatment, the risk of developing severe malaria is greatly reduced. This is why the 2.3 million rapid malaria tests are so important.
“With these tests, Malagasy health workers can determine if a patient has malaria and take the right steps to treat it in 15 minutes,” said Ambassador Pelletier.
The American donation also includes nearly 2 million treatment courses of artemisinin combination therapy. Once a rapid diagnostic test confirms that a patient has malaria, most cases can be successfully treated with this medicine.
In addition to these supplies, the materials donated include special treatment for severe malaria cases, pills to prevent malaria in pregnant women, and gloves to protect health workers when testing for malaria cases.
These medical supplies are being distributed across Madagascar by USAID’s IMPACT Health Project in coordination with the Department of Health to ensure that critical supplies are available when and where they are needed.
These tests and treatments are an important part of treating malaria, but the best treatment for malaria is prevention. Therefore, everyone who lives in Malaria-endemic areas of Madagascar should sleep under a bed net every night. This is especially important for young children and pregnant women, who are the most prone to the disease.
The announcement comes on World Mosquito Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness and taking action to prevent mosquito-borne diseases, including malaria.
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