New malaria project launched in most affected region of Chad

MSF's latest malaria project has opened in Chad, a country where deaths from malaria account for more than 50% of all deaths. The new malaria project was launched on March 11 in Bongor, capital of the southern region of Mayo-Kebbi East in Chad and one of the worst affected regions in a country where malaria is overwhelming in its size. Planned over three years, the pilot-project aims to improve treatment for one of the most virulent killers in Africa through the introduction of more effective drugs. "In Chad, malaria is the principal cause of death," explained MSF Head of Mission Michel Francoys. "In the area in and around Bongor, between September 2002 and September 2003, the mortality rate was 330 per 10,000 inhabitants, that is three times the rate in the developed world. It is striking that over half of these deaths were caused by malaria." In 2002 MSF carried out a study to evaluate the level of resistance to the traditional anti-malarial drugs of fansidar and chloroquine. The results showed that in 22% and 26% respectively of cases, malaria proved to be resistant. While the introduction of the more effective drug, artesunate-amodiaquine, is key, the project will also focus on prevention of the disease through the distribution of mosquito nets, targeted mainly at children and pregnant women, anti-mosquito spraying in hospitals and a widespread public education campaign. "Mayo-Kebbi is the region the most affected by malaria in all of Chad," said Francoys. "This is why we have located the new project in the regional capital. But we hope that in the future, our approach can be implemented on a national basis."