Sumba has one of the highest occurrences of malaria in Asia. An estimated 20 percent of all children die or become severely brain damaged by malaria before the age of 10.
Our original village surveys from 2003 showed that one in three mothers have lost at least one child to malaria. Our clinical surveys showed that 62 percent of the children below the age of 5 and 30 percent of the total population surveyed had malaria.
The Sumba Foundation’s overall Malaria Control Program was initiated in 2004 when world-renowned malaria expert, Dr. Claus Bogh, joined the Sumba Foundation to develop our malaria and health programs. We opened the first Sumba Foundation clinic with four junior nurses at Hobawawi, and implemented our control program.
The core elements of our Malaria Control Program are:
- Free malaria diagnosis
- Top quality treatment
- Mass blood screening and treatment of villages’ population
- Free mosquito nets to further reduce reinfection risk
- Expert level malaria education for all health staff working on malaria in Sumba (at the Malaria Training Center)
With these components, we have reduced malaria by 93 percent in our core malaria control area. We’ve also facilitated the overall reduction of malaria on Sumba by 70 percent (detailed in the 2016 Annual Report).
Through 2017, we distributed a total of 1,005 nets in the Hobawawi, Ringurara, and Nihiwatu area. These distributions were done in connection with the mass blood screenings to ensure the risk of reinfection was as limited as possible and to ensure the new nets were well-received in the villages.
To further reduce the number of malaria cases in our core area, we went back to screen the entire population living in the central desas within our area. To do this, we first do a population survey in all the villages, including names and ages of all people living in each household. Then, we follow up with blood screening and treatment of all people living in the villages, and we assess additional mosquito net needs.
In 2018, we aim to further reduce the number of malaria cases at our clinics and in the villages. We will distribute nets for mopped up malaria cases in our core area around the Hobawawi peninsula and inland at desa Watukarere, Palamoko, and Ringurara.
Our plan for 2018 is to distribute around 3,000 newly acquired mosquito nets, depending on how many nets are needed to protect the control area’s population before the 2018/19 rainy season. In 2017 alone, we tested a total of 5,668 villagers living in 102 villages within our main area and only 172 (3 percent) were positive.