MSF runs a malaria project

Greece-Laconia, 27 June 2012 — The outbreak of malaria  (Plasmodium vivax) among people with no travel history in 2011, after almost 40 years of absence in Greece, led to the decision for a comprehensive response from the international medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). Following the reappearance of this “forgotten” disease in Greece, MSF started providing support to the Hellenic Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (HCDCP) for the development of an integrated preparedness and response national malaria plan.

Furthermore, MSF teams in Sparta and Evros region is collaborating with HCDCP and the local authorities to implement projects contributing to the prevention, epidemiological surveillance, clinical management, laboratory diagnosis and vector control of the disease.

Active screening

Since late March 2012, MSF has had a continuous presence in the municipality of Evrotas, Laconia, paying periodic visits to local homes and residencies and doing active screening for malaria cases.

“From the beginning of the intervention till the end of May, we have conducted 1,470 fever screenings and 38 malaria rapid tests to the population, including people from malaria-endemic countries, the Roma community, identifying two new cases so far,” said doctor and MSF project coordinator, Iro Evlampidou.

Moreover, the MSF team has provided 121 basic healthcare consultations to people suffering mainly from respiratory infections, skin diseases, and musculoskeletal complaints.

Malaria education sessions

MSF, in collaboration with the HCDCP, is offering health education sessions to local communities to inform and raise their awareness towards malaria and the necessary precautionary measures. To date, 20 sessions have been conducted.

In the next period, MSF is planning to distribute mosquito nets and repellents to high risk populations of the region in an effort to enforce the population’s protection from malaria. MSF is supporting the local health structures in malaria diagnosis by providing rapid diagnostic tests, microscopes and trainings to the local health personnel.

Every year MSF treats over a million people for malaria in its projects in 30 countries worldwide.