World Malaria Day 2018
Ready To Beat Malaria
In 2016, 216 million cases and over 400,000 deaths resulting from malaria, were reported worldwide. This is a clear indication that malaria is still a global health concern and cannot be overlooked. Hence, the importance of creating awareness on world malaria day.
World Malaria Day emerged from the Africa Malaria Day which was observed since 2001 by African governments. In 2008, the first World Malaria Day was observed seeking to create awareness on malaria which can at times be fatal and is especially prevalent in tropical regions.
This day is also set aside to highlight the global efforts to control the disease and celebrate the gains made by regions that are most affected. The release of the 2017 world malaria report acts as an eye opener to the fact that the global success, control and progress in fighting malaria, has stalled.
This year’s theme on the world malaria day is ‘Ready to beat malaria’. This theme is meant to emphasise the collective energy and commitment of the global malaria community towards making the world malaria-free.
Why has the fight against malaria stalled?
The stalling in the fight against malaria is majorly due to insufficient funds. In 2016, US$2.7 billion was allocated towards fighting malaria, a number below the US$6.5 billion that is required annually by 2020, to meet the 2030 target of the WHO global malaria strategy
To meet the WHO 40% reduction in malaria cases by 2020, there is great need to invest more in malaria prevention, especially in countries that are most affected by the disease. This can be made possible by increasing funding for development, evaluation and deployment of new tools to boost the fight against malaria.
There was a 5 million rise in malaria cases in 2016 compared to 2015 and 90% of malaria cases reported were in Africa. The primary focus of the global malaria community should be to support countries in the African region that are the most heavily affected. If this is not done, then we risk going backwards in this fight and missing the global malaria target of 2030 and beyond.
Lack of sufficient funding at the local and international levels causes inadequate coverage of insecticide-treated nets, limited access to antimalaria medicines and other life saving tools needed to fight malaria.
What can be done to control malaria?
The main malaria control measures are:
- Sleeping under insecticide-treated bed nets: This has been seen to be the most effective method to control the disease. In sub-Saharan Africa, there was a significant drop in malaria cases due to the 23% increase in the number of people at risk of getting malaria, that slept under an insecticide treated mosquito net between 2010 and 2015.
- Spraying the inside of homes with insecticides: This also brought about the largest reduction of malaria cases in Africa; 180 million in 2010 to 100 million in 2016.
- Increase in diagnostic testing in public health sectors: In 2010, 36% of cases were diagnosed as compared to the 87% cases that were diagnosed in 2016. This help 70% of patients to receive artemisinin- based combination therapies, which are the most effective antimalarial medicines.
Staying informed is important not only in understanding what is going on around you but also in knowing how to deal with the health issues that occur daily. That is why at International Medical Treatment Ltd (IMT), we continue to keep you informed on health concern matters. Some people may not realise just how much of a health concern malaria continues to be, especially in the African Region.
A statistic to remember is that malaria costs a child’s life about every two minutes around the world. That is how serious the situation is. Malaria is also a major cause and consequence of global poverty and therefore, without sustained support in the fight against this disease, we will lose the hard-earned gains that we have attained in this fight that started over 10 years ago.
The good part is malaria is preventable and treatable and therefore it is possible to have a malaria-free world. However, this will only be achieved if all the stake holders, international health organisations and governments, play their part in fighting this disease.
We must act now. Are you ready to beat malaria?