Malaria epidemiology and control in refugee camps and complex emergencies.
Rowland M., Nosten F.
Owing to the breakdown of health systems, mass population displacements, and resettlement of vulnerable refugees in camps or locations prone to vector breeding, malaria is often a major health problem during war and the aftermath of war. During the initial acute phase of the emergency, before health services become properly established, mortality rates may rise to alarming levels. Establishing good case management and effective malaria prevention are important priorities for international agencies responsible for emergency health services. The operational strategies and control methods used in peacetime must be adapted to emergency conditions, and should be regularly re-assessed as social, political and epidemiological conditions evolve. During the last decade, research on malaria in refugee camps on the Pakistan-Afghanistan and Thailand-Burma borders has led to new methods and strategies for malaria prevention and case management, and these are now being taken up by international health agencies. This experience has shown that integration of research within control programmes is an efficient and dynamic mode of working that can lead to innovation and hopefully sustainable malaria control. United Nations' humanitarian and non-governmental agencies can play a significant part in resolving the outstanding research issues in malaria control.