Working to ‘End Malaria For Good’ this World Malaria Day
One of the most infectious diseases in the world, working towards a Malaria-free world is the need of the hour!
25 April of every year is marked as World Malaria Day. Initiated by The UN, the point of World Malaria Day is to assess the situation of the disease around the planet and take better steps to plan control of the same. The goal is to make a malaria-free world. The WHO chooses a theme to help people from around the world, organizations and governments as well to this same effect. This year the theme is ‘Ready to beat malaria’, with the attempt to reduce new cases of malaria from cropping up and reduce the number of deaths from the same.
The statistics for malaria around the world and in India are quite staggering, making it evident that resources from all corners need to be pooled in to treat malaria. Malaria is the cause of over 4,45,000 deaths around the world with over 70% of them being children.
In India, while there is a definite decline in the number of malaria cases, we are still among the list of countries that has the highest occurrence of Malaria in the world. Even with the drop of about 60% in the last 15 years, it is still a public health issue that needs immediate action.
Malaria is transmitted by the bite of a female anopheles mosquito that is infected. Of the 5 species of mosquitoes that can cause Malaria in humans, P. falciparum and P. Vivax pose a bigger threat. Although most of the Malaria cases and fatalities are in Sub-Saharan Africa, most other parts of the world are also at risk- children, women who are pregnant, non-immune travelers and people with HIV/ AIDS more so than others.
Malaria is curable
Knowing and being able to recognize the early signs of Malaria and getting a confirmed diagnosis of the same goes a long way in preventing death resulting from it. The focus though should be on prevention of Malaria. This is mainly for reduction of transmission of the disease and working as a community to achieve the same. This can be done by the use of insecticide within the house, especially during the beginning of the Malaria season in the area. Prevention of Malaria is also done with the use of antimalarial drugs and vaccines. This is normally for travelers and for pregnant women and children under the age of 5 in areas of high risk of transmission.
What can you do?
As individuals working towards a malaria free community, the following steps can be taken to prevent Malaria:
- Ensure basic cleanliness is maintained
- Make sure no pools of stagnant water rest in the surroundings
- Use mosquito nets and repellents
- Apply DEET creams and lotions if travelling to a high-risk area
- Get routine vaccines if there is a constant access to a high-risk area
Fight the spread of the disease! Have you made a pledge on #WorldMalariaDay yet?