25th April every year is a global day highlighting the importance of preventing and controlling the spread of Malaria worldwide. On this day of World Malaria Day, the Integrated Development Organization wishes to create awareness on measures of achieving a malaria free South Sudan; this year’s global theme is “End Malaria For Good.”
What to know about malaria:
Malaria is a febrile life-threatening disease caused by a parasite – plasmodium and spread by the bite of an infected female anopheles mosquito. These mosquitoes usually feed from dusk to dawn hours, and just before and immediately after the rainy season.
How malaria mostly features:
Malaria symptoms are usually observable within two weeks after an infective bite by a vector. The symptoms are initially mild but may progress into severity if not treated within the first 24 hours of presentation. You may have some or all of the following symptoms: mild fever, chills, headache, vomiting, body aches and general malaise.
Most malaria cases and deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa affecting infants, children under 5 years of age, pregnant women and patients with HIV/AIDS, as well as non-immune migrants, mobile populations and travelers have a higher risk of developing severe malaria and developing complications than others.
Malaria imposes substantial costs to both individuals and governments. Costs to individuals and their families include purchase of drugs for treating malaria at home; expenses for travel to, and treatment at, dispensaries and clinics; lost days of work; absence from school; expenses for preventive measures; expenses for burial in case of deaths. Costs to governments include maintenance, supply and staffing of health facilities; purchase of drugs and supplies; public health interventions against malaria, such as insecticide spraying or distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets; lost days of work with resulting loss of income; and lost opportunities for joint economic ventures and tourism.
According to the latest WHO estimates, released in December 2016, there were 212 million cases of malaria in 2015 and 429,000 deaths. Between 2010 and 2015, malaria incidence among populations at risk fell by 21% globally; during the same period, malaria mortality rates among populations at risk decreased by 29%. An estimated 6.8 million malaria deaths have been averted globally since 2001. 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. Some 13 countries – mainly in sub-Saharan Africa – account for 76% of malaria cases and 75% deaths globally. In areas with high transmission of malaria, children under 5 are particularly susceptible to infection, illness and death; more than two thirds (70%) of all malaria deaths occur in this age group. Between 2010 and 2015, the under-5 malaria death rate fell by 29% globally.
However malaria remains a major killer of children under five years old, taking the lives of children every two minutes.
How can you prevent malaria?
- Use long-lasting insecticide treated mosquito net every night
- Do Indoor Residual Spraying to kill mosquitoes
- Clear any grass near your residence
- Drain any stagnant water to prevent it from being used by mosquitoes as a breeding environment
- Complete your anti-malarial dose to ensure full treatment and prevent resistance and relapses
- Take a prophylactic dose if you are not immune and/or travelling to a malaria endemic zone
The above preventive measures are applicable to you as an individual, organization, institution or government.
To achieve a malaria-free South Sudan, it begins with your contribution.