World Malaria Day; Time to deliver zero malaria: invest, innovate, implement.
- Malaria is an acute febrile illness caused by Plasmodium parasites, which are spread to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. It is preventable and curable.
- World Malaria day is observed every year on the 25th April to bring global attention to the efforts being made to bring an end to malaria and encourage action to reduce suffering and death from the disease.
- In the latest WHO World Malaria report in 2022, there were 247 million cases of malaria in 2021 compared to 245 million cases in 2020. The estimated number of malaria deaths stood at 619 000 in 2021 compared to 625 000 in 2020. Of these deaths, 77 per cent were children under 5 years of age. This translates into a daily toll of over one thousand children under age 5.
- Four African countries accounted for just over half of all malaria deaths worldwide: Nigeria (31.3%), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (12.6%), United Republic of Tanzania (4.1%) and Niger (3.9%).
- Success in the fight against malaria is fragile and closely tied to sustained investment. In recent years, there has been a plateau in the funding of the global malaria response. In 2021, the total of international and domestic funding for malaria control and elimination was $3.5 billion – only half of what is estimated to be needed. In order to achieve the goal of a malaria-free world, annual funding would need to more than double to reach the USD $6.8 billion target.
- While malaria is not contagious, anyone can get it. The disease is transmitted through the bites of female Anopheles mosquitoes.
- Symptoms include fever, sweats, chills, headaches, malaise, muscles aches, nausea, and vomiting.
- Some people are more susceptible to developing severe malaria than others. Infants and children under 5 years of age, pregnant women and patients with HIV/AIDS are at particular risk.
- WHO recommends prompt diagnosis for anyone with suspected malaria? Malaria can be diagnosed using tests that determine the presence of the parasites causing the disease. There are 2 main types of tests: microscopic examination of blood smears and rapid diagnostic tests.
- Malaria is a preventable and treatable disease. Artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) are the most effective antimalarial medicines available today and the mainstay of recommended treatment for Plasmodium falciparum malaria, the deadliest malaria parasite globally.
- It is also important to complete dose of medication to prevent resistance.
- Vector control is the main approach to prevent malaria and reduce transmission. It includes the use of insecticide-treated nets, which prevent bites while people sleep and which kill mosquitoes as they try to feed, and indoor residual spraying, which is the application of an insecticide to surfaces where mosquitoes tend to rest, such as internal walls, eaves and ceilings of houses and other domestic structures.
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