In fragile states, conflicts, poverty and the absence of a strong and stable government causes a dramatic deterioration of the health status of a population. People are vulnerable to diseases like malaria, HIV/Aids and tuberculosis. These infectious diseases are still the world’s biggest ‘killers’ in low income countries (WHO). They account for more than 13 million deaths a year; over half of them are children under the age of five. Most of these deaths occur in developing countries. Especially in those countries where the living conditions have deteriorated and basic health services have ceased to exist, infectious diseases bear heavily upon the health burden of the people. Furthermore, most recent data shows that also non-communicable diseases like diabetes and heart disease are increasing in low-income countries.
Disease control and development
A high burden of disease has disastrous consequences for the resilience of a population, which is directly reflected in a deterioration of public health and economic development of a country. Combating diseases is therefore of great importance not only for general health, but also for economic development in fragile states: Countries with high infection rates of malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS develop slower and stay behind economically. This also goes the other way around: economic development helps in improving the over all health status, we therefore try to integrate health financing interventions into all of our programmes.
Prevention and treatment
HealthNet TPO works on the prevention and treatment of contagious diseases by actively dedicating itself to cost-effective health care that focuses on clear goals and produces measurable results. One of the largest programmes is the malaria control programme in Afghanistan. By spreading impregnated malaria nets there has been a reduction of malaria patients of 60 % in five years time. United Nations organizations such as UNICEF, UNHCR, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Bank now consider us as a key player in this field, because of our rich experience in post-conflict situations.
Communicable diseases in childhood are the leading causes of death among children. We therefore integrate child vaccination programmes in the health system strengthening approach. In fragile states, most children are not (fully) immunized against childhood diseases like measles, polio, tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. More importantly, due to poor hygienic conditions, malnutrition, lack of impregnated mosquito-nets and lack of access to essential drugs, diseases such as malaria, diarrhoeal diseases and acute respiratory infection take high toll under these circumstances. HealthNet TPO works on this issue in all project countries by elaborating health service delivery with vaccination programmes.