Quick Facts about Malaria
The world health organization (WHO) estimated that in 2013, more than 198 million people were infected with malaria and an estimated 485,000 died as a result of it. In 2016, there was an estimated 216 million cases in 91 countries, an increase of 5 million cases over 2015. Malaria death reached 445, 000 cases, representing a slight numerical reduction (446,000) from the cases of 2105. Nearly 4 out of 5 casualties were children under the age of 5. The disease presents a threat in about 100 countries and territories around the world, putting over 3.2 billion people at risk.
What is Malaria
Malaria is a life threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted through the bite of an infected female anopheles mosquito. It is both preventable and curable.
How Malaria is spread
The disease is spread through the bite of the infected mosquitoes called malaria vectors. There are five parasite species that causes malaria in human beings. These are:
- Plasmodium Falciparium
- Plasmodium vivax
- Plasmodium ovale
- Plasmodium malariae
- Plasmodium knowlesi
The first two of the listed species present the greatest threat. Plasmodium falciparium is the most prevalent parasite in the African continent and is responsible for most malaria death globally. Plasmodium vivax is the dominant parasite in most countries outside Africa.
When the infected mosquito bites an uninfected person, the malaria parasite is introduced into the human bloodstream. The parasite finds a way into a person’s liver cell and then multiplies. When the liver cell ruptures, it releases the parasite which then invades (attack) the infected person’s red blood cell and then the parasite continue to multiply. When the red blood cell ruptures, it releases the parasite which then attacks more red blood cells. Because malaria parasite attacks red blood cell, it can lead to anemia (low blood) especially in children and pregnant women. This can be very dangerous.
A human can get infected with the parasite as described above. Likewise, a non infected mosquito can get infected by biting an infected human. The mosquito then passes the parasite to other humans.
Symptoms of Malaria you should not ignore
- Fever(High temperature)
- Shaking chills
- Body aches
- Nausea and Vomiting
The symptoms may recur every 48 to 72 hours depending on the type of parasite involve and how long the person have had the disease.
What you can do to Protect Yourself
- Use insecticide Treated Net: Mosquito nets should be free of holds and should be completely tucked under the mattress.
- Clean up mosquito habitats in your environment. Clear buses, ensure that there are no empty cans, old tires, flower pots and plastic containers harboring water because mosquitoes can breed even in small water. Dispose refuse immediately or burn them. Avoid mosquito infested areas where possible.
- Use indoor residual spraying (insecticide)
- Use mosquito repellent
- if possible install screen on doors and windows and use air condition and fans which may discourage mosquitoes from settling
- wear light-colored clothing that fully covers your skin in mosquito infested areas and at night. Dark colors attract mosquitoes.
- If you are infected, treat it promptly. End the cycle… do not start it
- Obtain medications from authorized sources. Poor quality of medication can prolong the illness or increase the risk of death.
- Since malaria drugs are expensive, make good use of government or community health care programs.
Together we can beat malaria
Malaria in Nigeria
According to recent reports, malaria is responsible for 60 percent outpatient visits to health facilities, 30 percent childhood death, 25 percent of death in children under one year and 11 percent maternal death in Nigeria. Malaria is a major cause of increasing household poverty and slow phase of national development. The financial loss due to malaria annually is estimated to be about N132 billion in form of treatment costs, prevention and loss of man-hours, yet, the disease is a treatable and completely eradicable. (https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/04/world-malaria-day-nigeria-loses-n132bn-malaria-annually-lapo/).
It is believed that with collective efforts of everyone- international partners, government at all levels, business sectors, NGOs and community stakeholders, we are ready to beat Malaria.