A malaria patient at Merlin's Kindu Hospital
Saramabila is a district in the south of the state of Maniema (central Democratic Republic of Congo) where Merlin does not usually work. Since mid 2010, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of people suffering from malaria – most of these are children under 5 years old, with the majority (74%) also suffering from severe anaemia. Sadly, round 12% of all the malaria cases are fatal - much higher than the other malaria endemic zones in the region, where the average figure is less than 1%.
Unfortunately, there is only one NGO working in Saramabila, and they have yet to receive funding in 2012, so could not react to the outbreak. So there was no one to help with the growing endemic.
The other very worrying consequence of the malaria outbreak is that scarce health facilities, supplies and resources are being over stretched and overwhelmed. With the problem worsening, the Ministry of Health in Maniema requested support from their health partners, including Merlin. The Merlin team in DRCongo decided that they must respond as soon as possible, to offer support to a local health system that was bursting at the seams, and most importantly, to prevent further deaths.
Merlin’s response to the emergency was to:
- Donate supplies of anti- malarial drugs, rapid detection test kits for malaria, blood transfusion bags, blood transfusion catheters and HIV test kits to ensure safe blood transfusions.
- Distribute insecticide treated mosquito nets to children under 5.
- Pay the transport costs of distributing the nets and supplies.
- Pay a small wage to staff involved with the distribution of the supplies and nets.
The DRCongo team requested funds from Merlin’s Emergency Response Fund (MERF) – a fund that will pay for extra costs in emergency situations. This Fund is very useful to help with those emergencies that the world doesn’t hear about, just like the malaria outbreak in Saramabila.
By supporting Merlin’s work to be ready with prepositioned medicines, trained staff and supplies, you will be helping us to offer health care when it’s most vital and prevent the deaths of children and adults in some of the world’s most challenging places.