November 26th, 2014, South Sudan
The peak season for malaria this year has been unusually long in South Sudan, says IAS staff in Nyinbuli who are concerned that the incidence rate has been increasing year after year.
– Children under five and pregnant women are the largest groups at risk, says Emmanuel Baraza, nurse at a health center supported by IAS in Nyinbuli, where IAS specifically work to treat and prevent malaria.
– The peak season for malaria is usually in July, August and September. This year however, high malaria cases has been seen into late October. It is worrying that the number of malaria cases seem to be increasing, says Emmanuel.
Women and children worst affected
Nyinbuli in Bahr El Ghazal is one of the most vulnerable areas when it comes to malaria and the disease has continued to be an endemic condition here despite efforts to curb its spread. The most vulnerable groups are children under five and pregnant women.
– For pregnant women we have a special antenatal care program, since the treatment options are limited. We also distribute Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets to children, men and women, says Emmanuel.
Creating awareness about malaria
– We have also created awareness in the local community. One of the things is to inform people that they need to seek health care as soon as symptoms appear. This is a challenge as many confuse malaria with ‘’Gargan’’-a local name for yellow fever which presents itself almost the same as malaria, says Emmanuel.
Some are also seeking medical help from local healers and only go to the health centers when the symptoms have become so severe that it is often too late. This has largely contributed to the increase of the mortality rate of malaria.
– IAS continually provides services here and we remain the only hope to the local community when it comes to health care provision, says Emmanuel.
Text: Rebecka Woods