“MSF runs a malaria project in southern Greece”
June 27, 2012
Greece-Laconia, June 27, 2012 -The outbreak of malaria (Plasmodium vivax) among people with no travel history in 2011, after almost 40 years of absence in Greece, led to the decision of a comprehensive response from the international medical humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Following the reappearance of this “forgotten” disease in Greece, MSF started providing support to the Hellenic Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (HCDCP) for the development of an integrated preparedness and response national malaria plan.
Furthermore, MSF teams in Sparta and Evros region in collaboration with HCDCP and the local authorities have started implementing projects contributing to the prevention, epidemiological surveillance, clinical management, laboratory diagnosis and vector control of the disease.
Since late March 2012, MSF has a continuous presence in the Municipality of Evrotas, Laconia, paying periodic visits to local homes and residencies and doing active screening for malaria cases. “From the beginning of the intervention till the end of May, we have conducted 1470 fever screenings and 38 malaria rapid tests to the population, including people from malaria-endemic countries, Roma community, identifying two new cases so far”, said doctor and MSF project coordinator, Iro Evlampidou. Moreover, the MSF team has provided 121 primary health care consultations seeing people suffering mainly from respiratory infections, skin diseases, and musculoskeletal complaints.
In addition, MSF in collaboration with the HCDCP, is offering health education sessions to local communities with a view to inform and make them aware of malaria and the necessary precautionary measures. To date, 20 sessions have been completed.
In the next period, MSF is planning the distribution of mosquito nets and repellents to high risk populations of the region in an effort to enforce the population’s protection from malaria. As regards the malaria diagnosis, MSF is supporting the local health structures by providing rapid diagnostic tests, microscopes and trainings to the local health personnel.
Every year MSF treats over a million people for malaria in its projects in 30 countries worldwide.
The last 22 years MSF has been providing medical and humanitarian assistance to people living in Greece whenever needed and seen its intervention as an added value. In 2012, MSF responded to the emergency situation of homeless people and is currently supporting migrants and refugees, while responding to the malaria problem.