ASIA/VIETNAM - Lack of funds increases fears of a further spread of malaria

Friday, 5 October 2012

Hanoi (Agenzia Fides) – The annual meeting of the World Health Organization has just ended in Hanoi in the course of which the lack of funds to monitor migrants in the country was highlighted, which is likely to worsen the spread of drug-resistant malaria and it is necessary to establish special programs. The resistance can spread as a result of migration across borders and within Vietnam. Thanks to antimalarial therapy artemisinin-based combination (ACT), between 2000 and 2011 deaths recorded for malaria decreased from 148 to 14, and those confirmed from 74,000 to 16,500. However, immigrant populations must be controlled to prevent the re-emergence of the disease and the onset of new cases of resistance. According to experts, with uncontrolled movements of seasonal workers, particularly those in the forest, it is difficult to establish contacts and control malaria.
Most of forestry activities in Vietnam are concentrated in the Central Highlands, where the migrants, mainly from the Delta of Mekong, earn a living from woodworking. Based on data provided to the Government by the International Organization for Immigration, immigrants make up about 25% of the population of the major cities of the country. Mosquito nets are distributed only to families who register with the authorities. To combat the disease, the owners of farms distribute insecticide-treated nets to immigrant workers who work with them. Equally important is to subject the workers of forest areas to a test, give them drugs and mosquito nets, train health care professionals for diagnosis and treatment of malaria. In 2008, forests covered about 39% of the country, about 13 million hectares. In a study published in April 2012, 3200 patients living in north-western border with Thailand, near Myanmar, from 2001 to 2010 a steady increase in drug resistance from 0.6% to 20% was highlighted. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 05/10/2012).