[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT:
Almost two-thirds of refugees, internally displaced persons, returnees and other persons affected by humanitarian emergencies live in malaria endemic regions. Malaria remains a significant threat to the health of these populations.
Data on malaria incidence and mortality were analyzed from January 2006 to December 2009 from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Health Information System database collected at sites in Burundi, Chad, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand, and Uganda. Data from three countries during 2006 and 2007, and all nine countries from 2008 to 2009, were used to describe trends in malaria incidence and mortality. Monthly counts of malaria morbidity and mortality were aggregated into an annual country rate averaged over the study period.
An average of 1.18 million refugees resided in 60 refugee sites within nine countries with at least 50 cases of malaria per 1000 refugees during the study period 2008-2009. The highest incidence of malaria was in refugee sites in Tanzania, where the annual incidence of malaria was 399 confirmed cases per 1,000 refugees and 728 confirmed cases per 1,000 refugee children younger than five years. Malaria incidence in children younger than five years of age, based on the sum of confirmed and suspected cases, declined substantially at sites in two countries between 2006 and 2009, but a slight increase was reported at sites within four of seven countries between 2008 and 2009. Annual malaria mortality rates were highest in sites in Sudan (0.9 deaths per 1,000 refugees), Uganda and Tanzania (0.7 deaths per 1000 refugees each). Malaria was the cause of 16% of deaths in refugee children younger than five years of age in all study sites.
These findings represent one of the most extensive reports on malaria among refugees in post-emergency sites. Despite declines in malaria incidence among refugees in several countries, malaria remains a significant cause of mortality among children younger than five years of age. Further progress in malaria control, both within and outside of post-emergency sites, is necessary to further reduce malaria incidence and mortality among refugees and achieve global goals in malaria control and elimination.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) refugee camps are located predominantly in rural areas of Africa and Asia in protracted or post-emergency contexts. Recognizing the importance of malaria, pneumonia and diarrheal diseases as major causes of child morbidity and mortality in refugee camps, we analyzed data from the UNHCR Health Information System (HIS) to estimate incidence and risk factors for these diseases in refugee children younger than five years of age.
Data from 90 UNHCR camps in 16 countries, including morbidity, mortality, health services and refugee health status, were obtained from the UNHCR HIS for the period January 2006 to February 2010. Monthly camp-level data were aggregated to yearly estimates for analysis and stratified by location in Africa (including Yemen) or Asia. Poisson regression models with random effects were constructed to identify factors associated with malaria, pneumonia and diarrheal diseases. Spatial patterns in the incidence of malaria, pneumonia and diarrheal diseases were mapped to identify regional heterogeneities.
Malaria and pneumonia were the two most common causes of mortality, with confirmed malaria and pneumonia each accounting for 20% of child deaths. Suspected and confirmed malaria accounted for 23% of child morbidity and pneumonia accounted for 17% of child morbidity. Diarrheal diseases were the cause of 7% of deaths and 10% of morbidity in children under five. Mean under-five incidence rates across all refugee camps by region were: malaria [Africa 84.7 cases/1000 U5 population/month (95% CI 67.5-102.0), Asia 2.2/1000/month (95% CI 1.4-3.0)]; pneumonia [Africa 59.2/1000/month (95% CI 49.8-68.7), Asia 254.5/1000/month (95% CI 207.1-301.8)]; and diarrheal disease [Africa 35.5/1000/month (95% CI 28.7-42.4), Asia 69.2/1000/month (95% CI 61.0-77.5)]. Measles was infrequent and accounted for a small proportion of child morbidity (503 cases, < 1%) and mortality (6 deaths, < 1%).
As in stable settings, pneumonia and diarrhea are important causes of mortality among refugee children. Malaria remains a significant cause of child mortality in refugee camps in Africa and will need to be addressed as part of regional malaria control and elimination efforts. Little is known of neonatal morbidity and mortality in refugee settings, and neonatal deaths are likely to be under-reported. Global measles control efforts have reduced the incidence of measles among refugee children.