Afghan Workers Screened for Malaria

Afghan Workers Screened for MalariaAfghan Workers Screened for Malaria

Malaria is in the pre-elimination stage in Iran. Early malaria diagnosis is an important aspect of malaria elimination program in the country especially in the southeast where re-introduction of the mosquito-borne disease is at high risk due to population movements, in this case almost entirely by Afghans who travel back-and-forth to Afghanistan, the UN reports.

The majority of greenhouse farming in the southern Kerman Province, which is poorly paid, is carried out by Afghans who are either residents or seasonal workers. About 1,480 hectares in the province is under greenhouse cultivation with the highest density in Jiroft and Anbar-Abad districts at over 68% and 23% respectively.

During the cultivation season – which starts late August every year and lasts until May –a mobile team conducts malaria screening. But finding active cases among seasonal Afghan workers who work on a daily basis and move locations constantly is very tricky. In addition, the owners and supervisors of greenhouses are also reluctant to cooperate because the Afghans are daily workers and mostly without proper documents, the reports.

To overcome this challenge, the Office of the Health Deputy of Jiroft has dedicated a team for screening Afghans and other refugees in greenhouses.  The team members not only test all newcomers with Rapid Diagnostic Test kits, but also provide information regarding malaria, the symptoms and treatment to the workers and the owners/supervisors of greenhouses.

This enables the early identification of symptoms of the parasitic disease. Once notified, the team immediately carries out free screening and therapeutic treatment.

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