Malaria in upward curve again in Ngozi province

More than 9 people have died of malaria since January 2018 in Ngozi province. Health officials fear the increasing number of malaria cases and demand that Burundi Central Department that purchases pharmaceutical products-CAMEBU increases the quantity of amodiaquine and artesunate medicines.

Guillaume Ntawukuriryayo: “Since January, there has been an alarming increase in number of malaria patients."

Guillaume Ntawukuriryayo: “Since January, there has been an alarming increase in number of malaria patients.”

When someone arrives at Ngozi Hospital, they see long queues of patients waiting to be screened for Malaria. The reports of the Sanitary Information Service are alarming. More than 400 patients suffering from severe malaria have been admitted since 1 January 2018 and among them, 9 died of the disease.

Guillaume Ntawukuriryayo, Director of Ngozi Hospital, has said he is very worried about the huge increase in number of malaria patients in this hospital. “Since January, the number of patients suffering from malaria has considerably increased,” he said.

This situation has various consequences on the hospital management. “The rise in number of patients has forced us to increase the number of nurses and doctors”, said Ntawukuriryayo.

He says the hospital is also planning to open another common room for paediatrics department. “This will require buying beds, mattresses and other materials,” he said.

He also mentions the insufficient storage of medicine for malaria. “The quantity of malaria medicine given for free is not enough. For a hospital which hosts patients from the north region, the quantity given is not enough,” he said.

He asks the ministry of health to increase the number of medicine as soon as possible, otherwise there may be a drug stock-out.

“There is malaria treatment protocol for amodiaquine & artesunate that we offer free of charge to patients. The quantity should be increased as soon as possible.”

Patients however fear resistance to anti-malarial treatment. “I am at my fourth course of quinine. It does not heal me. I wonder if malaria has not developed a resistance to the medicine used in Burundi”, says a hospitalized man.

Philbert Sendegeya, Ngozi Health District Medical Director, denies the resistance of the disease and speaks of the population’s ignorance of the advice given by doctors. “Some patients take medication badly and therefore don’t heal easily. There is no resistance as such. We instead urge patients to follow the instructions given by the medical staff,” he says.

In March 2017, the ministry of health officially declared that malaria had become an epidemic in Burundi. Six months later, the same ministry announced that malaria cases had significantly decreased due to government efforts that consisted of freely distributing mosquito nets and some medicine to the population throughout the country.