Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Indonesia: In one girl’s recovery, an island’s triumph over malaria

By Nuraini Razak

An island once suffering from a record number of malaria cases has managed to eradicate all indigenous cases of the disease, which is a leading cause of death among children under age 5.

SABANG, Indonesia, 19 March 2014 – When Adelia’s fever simply did not go down, she was tested for the second-most-common malaria parasite – malaria vivax. That was in 2011. Thanks to immediate and effective treatment, Adelia, who is now 9 years old, managed to recover fully. But many others before her were not so lucky.

“On Sabang island, basically everyone had malaria at one point in their lives. We were so used to it,” Adelia’s mother, Rahmawati, explains. “But when it happens to one of your own children, I must say, I was terribly worried.”

“In 2008, we started working with UNICEF to eliminate malaria,” says Dr. Titik Yuniarti, Head of Communicable Disease Control in the district health office, “and today, we can claim that we no longer have any indigenous cases on the island.”

At one point, Batee Shok, the village Adelia and her mother call home in Aceh province, broke all records, with the highest number of malaria cases to be registered in a single village in Sabang.