Health officials in Madagascar are now working to rebuild primary and secondary health services for the people served by the damaged structures, with the help of the World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners.

“During the hurricane season, we faced three big challenges: deterioration of public health infrastructure; lack of access to health care for a segment of the population; and the risk of the appearance of potential post-storm diseases,” Yasmine explains. 

Laetitia Lydia, Minister of Health Secretary-General “All authorities—mayors, prefects, and health infrastructure managers—have been engaged to ensure that rehabilitation is completed as soon as possible.” Some structures that were only slightly damaged have already been repaired. We are confident that the sickness will not reappear when the situation gradually returns to normal.

Medicines were also distributed to patients, according to Yasmine Laetitia Lydia of the Ministry of Health, and health personnel deployed as part of a health caravan by the Ministry and partners provided free consultations. WHO has also aided in the deployment of epidemiologists in each region, as well as the creation of an epidemic-prone illness data collection system to track disease emergence at the local and national levels. a possible outbreak of diarrhea, malaria, measles, or COVID-19.

Early attempts were made to prevent the spread of these disorders. In health centers, kits containing antimalarial medications and diarrheal disorders were distributed.

To respond to the most critical emergencies, the Polish Center for International Aid dispatched an emergency medical team (EMT) of thirteen people – doctors, a pharmacist, and a logistician – with financial and logistical support from the European Union and WHO to ensure essential health care in affected communities.

The team was based in Vatovavy and set up a mobile clinic in three districts, including one in Manakara’s urban basic health unit (CSBU) Maroalakely. From the end of February to the beginning of March, two doctors and four staff members provided around one hundred free medical consultations per day.

“We were concerned about the probable appearance of epidemic diseases such as diarrhea, malaria, acute respiratory infections, measles, COVID-19, plague, and hunger.” “Many of the patients we visited during consultations were affected,” says Piotr Stopka, deputy team leader.

Despite attempts, 9 of the 23 areas were experiencing a malaria pandemic in early March 2022, and health officials are also contending with starvation in the Grand Sud region. In addition, the number of COVID-19 cases in the country is increasing. As a result, mobile vaccination teams have been deployed, and community awareness programs to educate people about the significance of self-protection and combat the COVID-19 outbreak are ongoing. “This emphasizes the importance of having a reliable system for early diagnosis and response to epidemic diseases.” 

In this regard, the WHO is aiding national health authorities and continues to support the restoration of emergency primary and secondary health care continuity for these cyclone-affected populations. To prevent the return of potentially pandemic diseases, measures such as mosquito net distribution, routine immunization, awareness-raising, and mask distribution are implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and partners. Dr. Marcellin Nimpa Mengouo, a WHO official in Madagascar, stated, “These efforts must also be directed at fortifying the health-care system and preparing it for the next storm season.”

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