Battling a Fatal Wave of Malaria in DRC
Two tiny caskets covered with fresh dirt lay sit in front of a house on the road connecting the towns of Dingila, the administrative center of the area, and Zobia. Jeanne, a young mother, stands by mutely. “She can’t speak—she is too sad,” explains a neighbor. “Her children died."
More than 18 people in this small village have died in five months. Most were children. Last year, no one died from malaria, which is endemic in the area. But since the beginning of 2012, unusually high rates of malaria and severe anemia—along with exceptionally high mortality rates—have been recorded in Ganga-Dingila. “People say they have never seen anything like this,” says Dr. Narcisse Wega, MSF’s emergency coordinator, who arrived in June to launch medical activities in the region. “Some parents have lost two or three children in just a few weeks.”
A malaria outbreak has struck several regions of Orientale province in northwest Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In early June, MSF sent an emergency team into the Ganga-Dingila health region, where approximately 118,000 people live in isolated, hard-to-reach communities that lack access to medical care.
Photo: DRC 2012 © Aurelie Lachant/MSF