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Will in Haiti

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Malaria Testing, Treatment and Prevention

According to the World Health Organization, some 30,000 people in Haiti suffer each year from malaria. 

The malaria testing, treatment and prevention programs have drastically reduced the number of patients misdiagnosed to have malaria and thus mistreated for other illnesses by an estimated 50% after providing easy and affordable malaria test kits. Before these kits were available, anyone in Haiti who had a fever was believed to have malaria and immediately given Chloroquine. Recent studies have shown that this “overtreatment” is leading to chloroquine-resistant malaria throughout the country. By treating only those who actually have malaria, we are keeping Haiti’s deadliest disease in its simplest form. Currently it costs roughly $2 to treat a person with non-drug-resistant malaria. Drug-resistant malaria and more specifically, chloroquine resistant malaria can cost some clinics as much as $14 a person to treat. Such costs are prohibitive for a people who on average earn under $2 a day.

In our first ten months, we successfully treated over 160 people positive for malaria and prevented thousands more from getting malaria through our prevention and education programs. The public health team gave presentations for village groups as large as 600 people on how to prevent being bitten by mosquitos. We put up nylon screens in the windows and ceilings of 35 homes in the Espwa village, covered the ground surrounding these 35 homes with small stones, preventing standing water pools and mosquito breeding sites and sent out “clean-up” crews to fill in standing water pits in the north and south villages. We chose to target this area first to demonstrate the incredible success witnessed by taking small preventative measures. Within these 35 homes, live 465 children. The incidence rates in this area have dropped from hundreds in 2007, to just three-dozen in 2008.

We travel house-to-house educating the village residents on how to avoid getting malaria and how to properly care for a person they suspect may have malaria. We estimate that just the malaria program alone has reached out and benefited over 2,000 people in the immediate area.

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