World’s Malaria Day: a reminder of what you should know about the disease

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[Malaria]–According to World Health Organisation (WHO), nearly half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria.

In 2015, there were roughly 212 million malaria cases and an estimated 429 000 malaria deaths. Increased prevention and control measures have led to a 29% reduction in malaria mortality rates globally since 2010.

Sub-Saharan Africa continues to carry a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden. In 2015, the region was home to 90% of malaria cases and 92% of malaria deaths.

Available Statistics shows average Malaria prevalence of 71% in Nigeria.

These and many more are the reasons the World Health Organisation (WHO) designated April 25 every year to sensitise the global community about Malaria: its causes, prevention, control and many more.

Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected Anopheles mosquito vectors. Of the 5 parasite species that cause malaria in humans, Plasmodium falciparum is the most deadly.

Anyone is at the risk of Malaria. However, children under 5 are at high risk of Malaria. 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.

Also, pregnant women are particularly at risk of malaria. They 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.

The only way to prevent and control Malaria is avoid mosquito bites. Clean and healthy environment does not breed mosquito. So the first step to avoiding mosquito bites is to maintain a healthy environment, where there is no stagnant water, blocked drainage and other forms of breeding spaces for mosquitoes.

Also, Sleeping under insecticide-treated mosquito nets protects against malaria. Long-lasting insecticidal 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.

According to WHO 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%.

The most effective way to rapidly reduce malaria transmission is Indoor residual spraying. It involves spraying of every corner of the house with insecticide. The full potential of indoor residual 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 is sprayed. Longer-lasting forms of insecticides are under development.

Furthermore, early diagnosis and prompt treatment of malaria reduces malaria transmission, reduces diseases and prevents deaths. Access to diagnostic testing and treatment should be seen not only as a component of malaria control but as a fundamental right of all populations at risk. Thus, it is imperative for government and all bodies concern to provide malaria diagnostic and treatment centres to the populace.

In as much as the disease is being underrated in this part of the world, it can kill within 24 hours of symptoms​ onset.

The good news, however, is that 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 5.

This implies that the only way to eradicate malaria is through effective preventive and control measures. So as the world marks World’s Malaria Day today, brace up and prevent yourself, your family and community from​ the deadly disease.

Copyright 2017 The Page. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source.



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