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VOA News Examines Malaria In Southern Sudan

VOA News examines malaria in southern Sudan. In the region, malaria is “widespread” and accounts for “up to 30 percent of all diseases treated by health facilities.” It is the “number one killer of children in southern Sudan,” though there are “no reliable statistics on the number in southern Sudan who suffer, or die from, malaria,” VOA News reports.

After more than two decades of war, “southern Sudan was granted semi-autonomous status for a six-year period” – beginning in 2005 – “until a more permanent solution can be worked out,” writes VOA News. The post-war administration is “grappling” with how to develop good health care services in a “vast, resource-poor area that is only now beginning to be developed,” according to the news service.

People who have been diagnosed with malaria sometimes have to walk to the market to buy malaria drugs because drugs and other vital supplies sometimes do not reach the clinic during the rainy season, said Paulino Pitia, acting county medical officer.

Last year, the health aid group PSI and the government of southern Sudan distributed one million insecticide-treated nets [ITNs]. As a result, “[a]necdotal evidence” shows that “there are less people presenting in health facilities with fever and suspected malaria,” Marcie Cook, country representative for PSI, said.

The government of southern Sudan plans to distribute 3 million additional ITNs by the end of this year with support from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and PSI. “Health activists say continual support from the Global Fund and donors is needed to diagnose, treat and prevent further deaths from malaria,” VOA News writes (Majtenyi, VOA News, 6/24).