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Madagascar: plague-prevention campaign launched in places of detention

07-02-2012 News Release 12/21

Antananarivo (ICRC) – A campaign against the plague – the first of its kind – was launched on 2 February in two Malagasy detention centres with support from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

In all, more than 3,600 people held in the Maison Centrale in Antanimora and in the Maison de Force in Tsiafahy will benefit.

The campaign was launched in cooperation with the prison authorities to counter the risk of the disease spreading by means of rats, of which there are many in prison environments. Detainees in the two facilities live in severely overcrowded conditions with limited opportunity for maintaining hygiene.

"It's not only the detainees but also the people living nearby who will benefit from the anti-plague campaign," said Olivier Jénard, the head of the ICRC delegation in Madagascar.

This pilot project, carried out in partnership with the justice ministry, the health ministry (rat control unit and emergency response and disease control unit) and the Pasteur Institute of Madagascar, which is providing technical support, aims to reduce the density of the rat population. The prevention techniques employed against the plague will be transferred to justice ministry agents for use in other detention facilities in Madagascar.

According to the health ministry, Madagascar is still one of the places where the plague is most prevalent. In recent years, between 300 and 600 cases, including some 30 cases of pneumonic plague, have been reported annually in the country.

The plague occurs in areas up to 800 metres above sea level: in Madagascar's central high plateaus (highlands), Antananarivo and the north of the country. In urban areas where the disease has taken hold (in the highlands and Antananarivo), the plague occurs every year from October to March, when the weather is hot and humid.

For further information, please contact:
Olivier Jenard, ICRC Antananarivo, tel: +261 33 07 303 11


Photos

Madagascar. Antanimora prison is currently holding some 2,600 people – more than three times its maximum capacity of 800 inmates. 

Madagascar. Antanimora prison is currently holding some 2,600 people – more than three times its maximum capacity of 800 inmates.
© MYOP/ICRC / G. Binet

Madagascar. the disinfestation of Antanimora prison will help improve living conditions for the 2,600 people held there. 

Madagascar. the disinfestation of Antanimora prison will help improve living conditions for the 2,600 people held there.
© MYOP/ICRC / G. Binet / v-p-mg-e-00101