When Refugees International visited the Nyabiheke camp for Congolese refugees in Rwanda, we asked a doctor there to describe the camp's biggest health problem and her most urgent need. Without hesitation, Dr. Ann Kao said the biggest problem in the camp was malaria, and her biggest need was bed nets to protect families from mosquito bites in their sleep.
We would have gotten the same answer in almost any refugee camp in Africa. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, 90% of all malaria infections occur in sub-Saharan Africa, where malaria is the leading killer of children. Refugees are particularly vulnerable because they often live in hastily constructed camps which can have poor drainage and sanitary facilities and few medical resources.