Outbreak of malaria in Afghan province of Badghis
18 October 2002
An outbreak of malaria has been confirmed in the sub-district of Kharkane, in the western Afghan province of Badghis. An estimated 8,000 people live in the Kharkane sub-district. The timing of the outbreak is somewhat surprising as the malaria season should be ending. Another notable point is that, according to preliminary results, in 90% of the cases the variant concerned is malaria falciparum, which is the most dangerous and which is uncommon in Afghanistan. MSF is responding to the outbreak in co-operation with the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Afghan Ministry of Health and the NGO Malteser. The falciparum variant of malaria will be treated with an artusenate combination therapy, the more common vivax variant with chloroquine. Medical needs one year later One year after the western military campaign on Afghanistan started, MSF is still worried about the level of assistance in Afghanistan and for the position of Afghan refugees in other countries. Medical care is still far from adequate in large parts of the country and aid organisations cannot reach almost half of the people due to inaccessibility and insecurity. Consequently, infectious diseases have free reign. With the lack of central authority, large parts of the country are still unsafe. Refugees under pressure In Iran and Pakistan the refugees are under strong pressure to return. Many have been intimidated or mistreated and their rights under international law have been violated. In Afghanistan itself, with relief and food aid failing, returned refugees now face a harsh winter. On top of all this, the international community has not made good on all its pledges for funds for Afghanistan. This has seriously restricted the amount of emergency assistance and reconstruction that is possible.