10:16pm Friday 22 September 2017

Malaria in Suriname almost eliminated

According to an impact study conducted by Hélène Hiwat – van Laar, who was awarded a PhD on the subject on 21 November at Wageningen University, part of Wageningen UR, a five-year control programme with new strategies has proved successful. The people most at risk nowadays are the mobile gold miner communities, especially those along the French Guianese border.

Suriname has been making active efforts to eliminate malaria since the beginning of the last century. Control campaigns were so successful that Suriname managed to eliminate malaria in the coastal plains completely. However, malaria continued to pose a problem in inland areas where the number of cases even increased. In Suriname, the Anopheles darlingi mosquito plays a major role in transmitting the infection.

2005 saw the launch of a new five-year malaria control programme comprising new strategies for combating the disease. The new malaria treatment for the malaria parasite (Plasmodium falciparum) on the basis of artemisin was introduced, the population in high-risk areas were provided with long-lasting impregnated mosquito nets and the houses were sprayed. Malaria patients were actively traced and local healthcare workers in remote areas were specially trained.

The impact study shows that since 2006, the disease has been almost totally brought under control among Surinamese village communities. Malaria parasites are, however, still transmitted from malaria patients to a healthy people via mosquitoes in mobile goldmine workers communities in the forest areas.
So the new challenge for Suriname is to tackle and hopefully eliminate malaria by means of a comprehensive malaria control strategy and regional collaboration. Hélène Hiwat – van Laar conducted her research in the Entomology Laboratory at Wageningen University. She was awarded a PhD on 21 November, supervised by Prof. Willem Takken.

Note
More information is available from Hélène Hiwat – van Laar, helenehiwat@gmail.com or via tel. +31(0)488-482531 (until 5 December, then SUR, tel. +597 8633960), or via Jac Niessen, scientific information officer at Wageningen UR, tel. +31 (0)317 485003, jac.niessen@wur.nl.


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