Torah was travelling west into Iran – a construction worker in search of a new job and better prospects. It was his second day on the move. That was then the fever and chills hit him. Then came the excruciating pain – the first signs of malaria. At first, he didn’t know what had hit him. But as his condition worsened, he sought help.
Passing through Jask district in Hormozgan province in the south of Iran, he asked passersby and was referred by the locals to Sadegh, a volunteer who had been trained to deal with malaria symptoms using RDT (Rapid Diagnostic Test) kits. Torah was in bad shape. He had contracted falciparum malaria. The disease was at an advanced stage, and, by the time he had reached Sadegh, he had only two “golden hours” left to receive treatment.
Sadegh immediately took Torah to the nearest Health House, one of 584 now active in Hormozgan province that have been provided with health products with the support of UNDP and the Global Fund. He was instantly injected with Artesunate and was sent to the closest available hospital to receive intensive care. Following several follow-up tests over a 3-week period he recovered from the infection.
“I thought I was going to die when they told me it is the most dangerous type of Malaria,” said Torah. In reality, had he been bitten 10 years earlier, when RDT kits and special treatment were not as accessible, it is unlikely Torah would have survived.
In case of malaria epidemics, in addition to dispensing the essential medicine, Rapid Response Teams (RRT) established with support of the UNDP-Global Fund regularly distribute bed nets and spray outdoor and indoor spaces to kill infected insects, including malaria mosquitoes.