Three-year-old Billy was brought to the Doctors Without Borders health post inside Nyarugusu refugee camp - she developed a fever and started vomiting. Her symptoms are typical of malaria: headache, joint pain, vomiting, and other flu like symptoms. MSF Nurse assistant Saidi tested Billy for the disease (a small pin-prick to her finger to get a blood sample, which is tested immediately, on-site, to see if the malaria parasites are present).
This kind of testing is the most reliable way of diagnosing malaria in the camp’s remote and basic environment: little training is needed in order to administer the test; no additional lab equipment is required; and the results are fast to interpret.
Young children are the most vulnerable to malaria - their bodies haven’t built up effective defense against the disease and they do not have fully developed immune systems.
After her consultation, Billy is given her anti-malarial tablets and some water to take her first dose. MSF uses artemisinin-based combination therapy, which is the most effective malaria treatment.
Tent to tent across the refugee camp, health promoters explain to refugees how to prevent malaria, how to recognize the symptoms, and how to seek treatment.
In 2016, MSF treated 46,380 refugees in Nyarugusu for malaria.