Madagascar

UNICEF and ECHO distribute health supplies to cyclone-affected Malagasy families

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF Madagascar/2008
Aurline and her seven children wait patiently in line for their bed nets to prevent malaria in the rural village of Besalampy on the western shores of Madagascar.

BESALAMPY, Madagascar, 4 November 2008  – Local health authorities recently distributed mosquito nets and essential medicines free of charge to cyclone-affected families here. The distribution was part of UNICEF’s partnership with the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO) and the Malagasy Government.

Cyclone Fame tore through the area last January with intense winds and widespread flooding that destroyed homes, leaving thousands without shelter and vulnerable to disease.

In the rural village of Besalampy on the western shores of Madagascar, Aurline, 36, brought her seven children to the local health centre to receive insecticide-treated bed nets. She got one net for each of her children under five years of age, to ensure that each child is protected from malaria.

“Our house was completely destroyed by the cyclone, and until now it hasn’t been rebuilt,” Aurline explained. “I really believe that by receiving these mosquito nets today, we can keep the mosquitoes away from us when we sleep and improve our health.”

‘Malaria is a deadly disease’
Another mother, Razanamisy, arrived at the Besalampy health centre with her two youngest children, ages 3 and 4.

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF Madagascar/2008
Children with insecticide-treated mosquito nets in Besalampy village, western Madagascar.

“We lost our house and all our possessions in the cyclone,” she said. “I made sure that I was one of the first people here today, because I want to use any means I can to protect my children from disease – and malaria is a deadly disease.”

Razanamisy’s children have also benefited from the medicines provided by UNICEF and ECHO. “My daughter had diarrhoea a week ago, and so I brought her to the health centre for treatment. I was given some sachets to treat her, and now she’s feeling much better,” the mother said.

The sachets she mentioned contained oral rehydration salts, which can be used at home to help treat diarrhoeal dehydration.

Three regions targeted
In addition, UNICEF and ECHO distributed zinc tablets and other medicines to all health facilities in Besalampy – just one of the districts targeted by UNICEF as part of the emergency response funded by ECHO.

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF Madagascar/2008
Mosquito nets keep cyclone-affected Malagasy children safe from malaria.

In total, three regions of Madagascar are benefiting from the ECHO-funded UNICEF emergency response: Alaotra Mangoro, Analanjirofo and Melaky (where Besalampy is located). These three regions are considered the most exposed to the risk of epidemics in the post-cyclone period.

Such interventions aim to protect or treat a total of 45,000 women and children against malaria, respiratory infections, dermatological diseases and diarrhoea.

With support from UNICEF and ECHO, Malagasy people such as Aurline and Razanamisy – and their families – have a better chance at staying healthy while they rebuild their lives and communities.


 

 

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UNICEF’s Susanna Mullard reports on the distribution of mosquito nets to cyclone-affected families in Madagascar, supported by UNICEF and ECHO.
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