World Malaria Day is a chance to shine a spotlight on the global effort to control malaria.
Why do we care about ending malaria? Well, it’s one of the leading causes of death for children under 5 in sub-Saharan Africa. It kills a vast number of people every year. And yet it is PREVENTABLE and TREATABLE.
This is a disease we can avoid and a disease which does not have to lead to death.
If all you care about is money then you need to pay attention too; Malaria related-illnesses and mortality cost Africa’s economy $12 billion per year.
HALF of the world’s population is at risk, notably predominantly in developing countries and malaria perpetuates the poverty cycle. Think about it, if you’re a westerner going to a part of the world with malaria, you take your meds and don’t really think any more about it. But if you were living in poverty, you couldn’t buy those medications, and if you then contract malaria, you can’t pay for medical care and the malaria impedes your ability to work. This then further reduces your income. And malaria isn’t a one time deal. It can reoccur so making it through one episode of malaria is not necessarily enough. And those symptoms can be horrendous. They include fever, fatigue, vomiting, and headaches as well as seizures, coma, or death.
The most common way of being infected is being bitten by an infected mosquito. As well as treating the disease, there are ways of reducing the risk, such as mosquito nets, mosquito control and education about the disease.
If you do nothing else for World Malaria Day, please make one other person aware that people continue to die from this treatable disease. There was a lot of hype about malaria when I was a kid but as it’s died down a lot, I think most people assume the issue is no longer serious.