One of Madagascar’s biggest current medical problems is nothing new, it has simply struck the wrong place at the wrong time. The Plague killed millions in England between The 14th to the 17th Centuries. Thankfully though, England and Europe got this under control. Unfortunately, some centuries later in Madagascar, the battle is still on. The only solution? Madagascar needs our help to win.
Recently there have been outbreaks of pneumonic and bubonic Plague in Madagascar but these are the facts you need to know. The outbreak in Madagascar started in August and has killed over 120, whilst it is thought to have infecting almost ten times as many – the WHO believe over a thousand people may have been infected (1). This form of the Plague seems to have come from animal bites and then passing from human to human. Geographically, the outbreaks started in the east of the country, and worryingly also in the capital – Antananarivo. (2)
Still, on a more positive note, responses have been quick. At a national level, many precautions are being taken, such as trying to prevent infection by holding fewer large gatherings. Madagascar has also reacted quickly to safeguard some of the more vulnerable – for instance closing schools and universities. (2) As with any epidemic, the most important thing is to get medication to those who need it quickly, and The World Health Organisation is not failing it’s duties. Since the outbreak, WHO has delivered the required medication for 5,000 infected people, whilst also distributing medication for 100,000 who may have been in contact with those infected (3). The Government have also taken practical actions, creating helplines and preventing the spread of ‘fake news’ which had spread on social media. Aside from these national measures, at a local level, there are consistent efforts to trap infected insects and also the mass spraying of insecticides. Another innovative response, by The Red Cross, has been to work on removing the stigma attached to those who are possibly infected, meaning they will be more willing to come forward and seek medical help.
One thing is clear – Madagascar needs help and it needs it quickly. Money For Madagascar works on the front line and has a proud record in providing basic needs such as clean water, better sanitation and also health education so that problems can be found and dealt with more quickly.
If you feel that you could play a part in making a direct difference in Madagascar’s time of need, please consider making a donation at https://moneyformadagascar.org/ – anything you give will go to those who need it most, Thank You.
Written by Matthew Ward.