Success Story: Malaria Control in Afghanistan

May 15, 2017

Zabihullah, a Tailor in Behsud district, near Jalalabad, sets up a bed net provided by UNDP/the Global Fund to protect his family against malaria. © UNDP Afghanistan / Omer Sadaat / 2016

Malaria has always been a problem in Afghanistan, especially in the eastern and southeastern provinces. But today, due to successful malaria control programmes, incidents of the disease are at their lowest for 15 years.

In 2016, the Ministry of Public Health reported 385,000 cases of malaria from across Afghanistan; nearly half of these are being treated. With 300,000 rapid malaria testing kits delivered to rural health clinics throughout Afghanistan, community health workers can now prick a villager’s finger and get an accurate blood test in just 30 minutes. UNDP and the Global Fund have trained 26,000 community health workers throughout the country in testing malaria and provided medicine for recurrent and severe malaria.

Since early 2016, UNDP and the Global Fund have distributed 1.3 million bed nets to communities prone to malaria in 26 provinces of Afghanistan. The campaign will distribute 1.7 million more bed nets by the end of 2017. One bed net will be provided for every two people in a household, while pregnant women can get one each on their first visit from a health clinician.

Mirza Khan, 42, from Behsud district in Nangarhar, has a family of 12 people. “In the past, my son and I used to get malaria at least twice a year," he says. "When I saw my son, unconscious, with a high fever, it would break my heart.”

The family have now been using the bed nets for more than a year, and things have already changed for them. “Now we enjoy a happy life and no one in our family gets malaria,” says Mirza Khan.

Mirza Khan’s Story on BBC Afghanistan

Reporters from BBC Afghanistan met with Imam Jan at his village a few weeks back and produced a touching story about how he puts up bed nets every evening to protect his children from malaria, and how he cherishes life without the deadly disease. 

BBC Pashto TV

BBC Pashto Website

BBC Persian Website

How to protect ourselves from malaria?

Ahmad Walid Sediqi, malaria expert at UNDP Afghanistan, explains on "Rasme Zindagi" show of Khurshid TV how to protect ourselves from mosquitoes that spread malaria, where to receive treatment and what the Ministry of Public Health and UNDP/Global Fund do to control malaria in 26 provinces of Afghanistan.

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