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mosquito on a green leaf

At 6:30 am five-year-old Osman Balama and his mother reach the state hospital of Bobo-Dioulasso, the second-largest city in Burkina Faso. He hasn’t been feeling well for a few days and his mother is worried that he has contracted malaria. The waiting room is already full of mothers and grandmothers with young children on their laps, all with the same tired look as Osman.

“The rainy season has started,” says Sami Palm, head of the clinic. “That means more mosquitos. I’m certain that almost everyone here has malaria.”

Two red lines on the detection strip confirm malaria. “He doesn’t need to stay in the hospital, because he isn’t vomiting and isn’t extremely sick,” Palm says. Osman is sent home with medication – the Burkinese government covers treatments for children aged five and under.

Each year around 400,000 people worldwide die from malaria, half of them in seven countries in Africa, including Burkina Faso. Despite progress in reducing deaths since 2000, cases have been gradually increasing. “We’re having more and more problems with resistance – from the parasite, which knows how... see more