Magbenteh Community Hospital wants to support not only the communities of Bombali District and the future of Sierra Leone’s children, but also the Sustainable Development Goals. One of our medical team’s biggest challenges is the fight against Sierra Leone’s most common infectious disease and one of its most serious public health problems; malaria.
Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by Plasmodium parasites, of which there are 5 species that affect humans. According to the World Malaria Report, the disease is endemic in Africa and referred to as ‘the sickness of poverty’, despite being both treatable and preventable. Children under the age of 5 are particularly susceptible to infection, commonly developing severe anaemia, respiratory distress or cerebral malaria.
In malaria endemic areas, such as Sierra Leone, children can develop partial immunity, allowing asymptomatic infections to occur.
Magbenteh Community Hospital receives an average of 8,000 child in and out patients per year. Of this figure, 45% are diagnosed with malaria. This is comparable to the 25% of pregnant women admitted in the maternity ward who are treated for clinical malaria. Depending on the level of severity, malnutrition and anaemia contribute as major side effects.
Last month (January 2018) 4,271 Laboratory tests carried out. Of this number 2,280 were rapid tests for malaria; 1,530 positive and 750 negative.
There is a distinct relationship between poverty and malaria. The communities which Magbenteh Community Hospital serve are particularly deprived with a lack of access to clean water and therefore sanitation. Many communities reside close to swamp areas or rivers, this contributes greatly with the density of the population, lack of ventilation in houses and humid temperatures, resulting in perfect mosquito breeding environments.
The medical team at Magbenteh Community Hospital continue to sensitize patients on the importance of using bed nets in their homes alongside the distribution of quality and effective treatment.