Antananarivo - A particularly severe outbreak of malaria in Madagascar has killed seven people since the beginning of the month and has left 60 others in need of hospitalization, the country's health minister said Thursday.
Madagascar has seen an increase in the number of malaria cases in the first months of 2012 when compared with the previous year, government officials say.
Local doctors say the increase is likely a result of changing climate conditions, which have made the region more hospitable to the insects which carry the disease.
Moreover, the country suffered a coup in 2009 and Madagascar has been in a political stalemate ever since, despite regional efforts to reach an agreement between the military-backed rulers and the old regime now in exile.
The stalemate has caused foreign donors to back away from the country, which is also experiencing an economic decline as a result of the political situation. At the same time, its government is becoming less capable of delivering basic health services.