April 25 : World Malaria Day – 10 facts about Malaria by World Health Organization- WHO
World Malaria Day of 2018, which has the theme “Ready to beat malaria” was as usual held on April 25.
Let us commemorate the day by reflecting on some facts about malaria as released by WHO.
Fact 1: Malaria is caused by parasites that are transmitted to people, through the bites of infected mosquitoes.
Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites, that are spread to people through the bites of infected Anopheles mosquito vector. Of the 5 parasites species that cause malaria in humans. Plasmodium falciparum is the most deadly.
Fact 2: Nearly half of the world’s population is at the risk of malaria.
In 2015, there were an estimated 212 million malaria deaths. Young children, pregnant women and non-immune travellers, from malaria free areas are particularly vulnerable to the disease when they become infected.
Fact 3: Children under 5 are at high risk if malaria.
In areas with high transmission of malaria children under 5, are particularly susceptible to infection, illness and death. More than two-thirds (70%) of all malaria deaths occur in this age group. In 2015, about 303,000 African children died before their fifth birthdays.
Fact 4 : Malaria mortality rates are falling.
Increased malaria prevention and control measures are dramatically reducing the malaria burden in many places. Since 2010, malaria mortality rates have fallen globally by 29%, among all age groups, and by 35% among children under five.
Fact 5: Early diagnosis, and prompt treatment if malaria prevents deaths.
Early diagnosis, and treatment of malaria reduces disease and prevents deaths. It also contributes to reducing malaria transmission. Access to diagnostic testing and treatment should be seen, not only as a component of malaria control, but as a fundamental human right of all population at risk.
Fact 6: Emerging artemisinin resistance is a major concern.
Parasites resistance to artemisinin, the core compound in WHO – recommended combination treatment for uncomplicated malaria, has been detected in 5 Countries of South East Asia – Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. However artemisinin-based combination therapies remain effective in almost all settings, as long as the partner drug in the combination is locally effective.
Fact 7: Sleeping under Insecticide Treated Nets(ITN), protects against malaria.
Log lasting insecticide nets provide personal protection against mosquito bites. They can be used as protection for people most at risk of malaria, such as young children and pregnant women in high malaria transmission areas. The nets are effective for 2 – 3 years, depending on the model and conditions of use.
Between 2010 and 2015 there was an 80% increase in the use of insecticide-treated-nets, for all populations at risk of malaria, in Sub – Saharan Africa by 80%.
Fact 8: Indoor residential spraying is the most effective way to rapidly reduce malaria transmission.
The full potential indoor residential spraying is obtained when at least 80% of houses in targeted areas are sprayed. Indoor spraying with insecticides kills the mosquito vector, and is effective for 3 – 6 months, depending on the insecticide used, and the type of surface on which it was sprayed. Longer lasting forms of insecticides are under development.
Fact 9 : Pregnant women are particularly at risk of malaria.
Pregnant women are at high risk of dying from the complications of severe malaria. Malaria is also a cause of spontaneous abortion, premature delivery, stillbirth and severe maternal anaemia, and is responsible for about one third of preventable low birth weight babies.
For pregnant women living in moderate to high transmission areas, WHO recommends intermittent preventive treatment at each scheduled antenatal visit after the first trimester.
Fact 10 : Malaria causes significant economic losses in high burden Countries.
In high – burden settings, malaria can trap families and communities in a downward spiral of poverty, disproportionately affecting marginalised and and poor people, who cannot afford treatment, or who have limited access to health care.
Addendum – additional malaria facts.
● Four out of five malaria deaths occur in one of these 15 Countries – Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Mozambique, Ghana, Angola, Uganda, Mali, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Tanzania, Cameroun, Niger, Guinea and Chad.
● Countries that have achieved at least three consecutive years with no local cases of malaria are eligible to apply for certification of malaria elimination. In the last decade , six countries have been certified as having eliminated malaria : Morocco(2010), Turkmenistan(2010), Armenia(2011), Maldives(2015), Sri Lanka(2016) and Kyrgyzstan(2016). Did I hear you ask just like I did – when is Nigeria’s turn?.
● Always be medically guided.
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