Burundi Declares Malaria Epidemic As Death Toll Rises
Burundi’s Health Ministry yesterday declared a national malaria epidemic as the number of deaths from the disease passed 700 for the year so far.
The east African country of 11 million people recorded more than 8 million cases of malaria last year and had so far this year already recorded 2 million cases, Bujumbura News Agency cited the ministry as saying.
The ministry said it was preparing a response plan to deal with the epidemic and would mobilize about 31 million US dollars to effectively deal with the high number of patients.
Local news site Iwacu English News had previously reported that Dr. Zacharie Kubwimana, the medical director of the Cankuzo province in eastern Burundi blamed many of the fatalities on people not seeking treatment quickly enough. Kubwimana added that some people were not consulting modern doctors and were instead turning to “wizards” or traditional medicine for treatment.
The increase in malaria has been attributed to climate change, among other factors, but the largest cause is failure to follow preventative measures, such as properly using freely provided mosquito nets. (Photo)