Did you know that Malaria is the most life-threatening disease in the entire world? African countries, especially the Sub Saharan part of Africa are at a higher risk of contracting the disease compared to Asian and American countries. Amidst the covid-19, there are other diseases that have possibly been sidelined that demand immediate attention. One among these is Malaria. Since the onset of covid-19, much attention has been withdrawn from it yet it still claims the lives of many including the young ones.
As we all know, Malaria is caused by the plasmodium parasite carried by the female anopheles’ mosquito. Malaria is a seasonal illness. It is always at its peak during the rainy season that is between September and December and the humid season, between May and July.
According to WHO global estimates, the number of Malaria deaths has drastically reduced from 839,000 in 2000 to 438,000 in 2015. In 2018, the estimated deaths caused by Malaria globally was 405,000 with Africa accounting for 94% of those cases.
Children under the age of 5years are the most vulnerable since they are at a higher risk of contracting and dying from Malaria. In 2018, they accounted for 67% of global deaths caused by Malaria. Malaria in children can cause respiratory problems, cerebral Malaria, or anemia while in adults it can likely cause organ failure. Equally, pregnant women fall at a higher risk of contracting Malaria and often can lead to the loss of both the mother and the child.
It takes about 10 to 15 days for Malaria symptoms to be noticed. Some of the symptoms include chills, fever, headaches, fatigue, and even loss of appetite. Often, if not treated within 24hours, it can lead to death.
The good news is, Malaria is not only manageable but curable. There are different ways one can use to curb the spread of Malaria. Methods like sleeping under an insecticide-treated mosquito net, indoor spraying of insecticide on residential places, use of mosquito repellant and, taking antimalarial drugs are some of the ways used to prevent contracting the disease.
RTS, S/AS01 (RTS, S) is the only vaccine that is known to prevent the spread of malaria. This vaccine is administered to young children mostly after being born. Commendably, the administration of the vaccine to children has seen tremendous improvement in reducing the spread of malaria.
At any point, if one realizes they are having symptoms related to those like Malaria, it is important to visit a health center for checkup and treatment. Everyone has the responsibility of ensuring they keep themselves and their families safe from Malaria by adopting the required prevention measures.
It is important to ensure bushes are cleared and stagnant water from rain or any water sources are dried up because those are mosquito breeding grounds. Malaria can be prevented and cured if treated early.