Plague in Madagascar – our urgent response

Our partner in Madagascar is starting to combat a new outbreak of plague.

The World Health Organisation has reported 387 cases and 45 deaths from pneumonic plague in Madagascar. WHO has provided 1.2 million doses of antibiotics to fight the outbreak, but estimates the risk of further spread to be very high

Public gatherings have been forbidden and schools are suspended for disinfection, mostly for insect control.

Although Madagascar suffers from seasonal outbreaks of bubonic plague, this time it’s different. Whilst bubonic plague is spread predominantly through flea bites, pneumonic plague spreads through the air between people. This makes it much more difficult to prevent and control.

YMCA Madagascar’s National General Secretary Nirina Rakatomolala praised the courageous YMCA team who are beginning to work with local health providers to spread awareness of symptoms, treatment and preventive action. She said:

“The situation is very difficult, as the plague is very much linked to some cultural customs, such as funeral or exhumation rites.

“Unfortunately, sanitation and waste management are poorly delivered both in rural and urban areas.

“In Moramanga (one of the areas affected) YMCA staff and peer leaders have started sanitation action with the local hospital to inform the public about plague symptoms, free hospital treatments, and prevention care for people in contact with pestiferous persons or areas.”

Y Care International Chief Executive Adam Leach said: “This outbreak needs an urgent response. Swift action is vital because it’s a new type of outbreak and people may be less prepared

“Access to accurate and timely information is crucial so that people can act. From experience, we know that when young men and women have the resources, they are able to help themselves and their communities.“

Read the World Health Organisation briefing on the outbreak of plague in Madagascar

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