At first glance one might have thought that Bangladesh had been hit by a wave of influenza. Many people complained of headaches and aching limbs, fever and sometimes chills. Then the rash appeared. Small red dots spread all over the body. Not a flu wave after all, but a fever epidemic. The virus of the dengue fever is transmitted by the bite of a mosquito and is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions. Bangladesh has been hit particularly hard this year.
Almost 100,000 people were infected with the tropical fever. For most of them, the symptoms subsided by themselves after a few days. But every 15th person did not get rid of the disease so easily. The fever continued, the chills got worse and worse, and in some cases additional symptoms like hair loss and uncontrolled bleeding started. Especially children and elderly people with weak immune systems were affected.
Bangladesh is a about half the size of Germany, but has nearly twice the population. The country has a high population density, weak economy and strict government. Widespread poverty means that the private health care system is only available to a small part of the population.
This is why we are currently working in Bangladesh with four governmental and three non- governmental hospitals to give the poorest people in the country free access to health care. We supply hospitals with medicines, technical equipment, medical instruments and vital supplies to ensure care for those who otherwise would not be able to afford medical treatment. During this years fever epidemic, we played our part in ensuring that less than one percent of the 100,000 patients died of dengue fever. “The worst is now over, the number of people suffering from fever is finally declining”, says Shabbir Uddin Ahmed, Cap Anamur project coordinator in Bangladesh.”Through cooperation with hospitals and constant monitoring, many have been saved.”