Mission Aviation Fellowship uses new airstrip to fight malaria outbreak in Congo

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An epidemic of malaria has again hit the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

A typical rainy season problem, new cases are on the rise during the dry season this year. One reason could be because malaria-carrying mosquitoes were found to be showing greater resistance to insecticide in 64 countries, according to a recent study.

Despite education and mosquito net campaigns, Doctors Without Borders (MĂ©decins Sans Frontiers, MSF) notes that over the last three years, the number of patients in the DRC has jumped by 250 percent.

The disease is already the single biggest killer in Congo, with nearly 200,000 people dying annually, and now the trend is worsening. For example, says MSF, in one rural area, a center for malaria treatment was flooded by 3,000 patients--about 1.3 percent of the population.  

Overwhelmed by the numbers, the clinic had to airlift medicine into the district to cope with the outbreak.  This is where Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) comes in.

Jon Cadd is MAF's chief pilot in Bunia, in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. He recently made medical supply drops involving both the malaria medications and blood infusions to several clinics and hospitals. "If you don't have the proper medication, it gets really terrible, and it's worse for kids it seems. That's been the big problem of children getting the disease: their hemoglobin count goes down so fast that they actually die."  

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SOURCE: MNN