East Africa

Malaria Epidemic rages in Burundi, 1,800 people dead

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The United Nation’s Humanitarian Agency have confirmed that malaria is back and raging, thus far killing over one thousand eight hundred people in Burundi in 2019.

The current death toll is currently competing with the deadly Ebola outbreak in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its latest situation report that 5.7 million cases of malaria had been recorded in Burundi in 2019 – a figure roughly equal to half its entire population and a total of 1,801 of those cases died from mosquito-born disease between January 1 and July, 21.

Although this has clearly became a crisis, even with OCHA sending warnings that the disease is crossing “epidemic proportions” in May, Burundi has yet to declare a national emergency and activate the national malaria outbreak response plan.

This comes as a surprise as in 2017 Burundi declared a national emergency after just 700 deaths.

Stakeholders, including the national authorities and partners, have been called upon to provide the required resources to mount a robust response to this event before it wipes out the entire country of 11 million people in the African Great Lakes Region.

OCHA said the crisis was driven by the government’s lack of preventive measures like mosquito nets, climate changes and increased movements of people from mountain areas with low immunity to malaria.

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