“Zero malaria starts with me”
World Malaria Day 2020 is an international observance commemorated every year on 25 April to recognize global efforts to control malaria.
The day was established to provide “education and understanding of malaria” and spread information on “year-long intensified implementation of national malaria-control strategies, including community-based activities for malaria prevention and treatment in endemic areas.
WHO joins the RBM Partnership to End Malaria in promoting “Zero malaria starts with me”, a grassroots campaign that aims to keep malaria high on the political agenda, mobilize additional resources, and empower communities to take ownership of malaria prevention and care.
The “Zero malaria” campaign engages all members of society: political leaders, private sector companies and individuals to activel support the end to Malaria terror
Malaria which is transmitted via the sting of parasite-carrying female anopheles mosquitoes manifests symptoms of headache, weakness, fatigue, abdominal discomfort in a month.
It is dominant especially in Africa.
According to the World Health Organization’s 2019 World Malaria Report published in December last year, 228 million malaria cases were seen in 2018, and 405,000 people lost their lives in the same year. Between 2000 and 2014, the number of malaria-related deaths fell by 40% worldwide, from an estimated 743 000 to 446 000.
In the 10 African countries hardest hit by malaria (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda and United Republic of Tanzania), there were an estimated 3.5 million more cases of malaria in 2017 over the previous year.
Every two minutes, a child under the age of 5 dies from malaria. Under-five children accounted for 67 per cent of all malaria deaths worldwide in 2018. Most of them occurred in sub-Saharan Africa where an estimated 24 million children were infected with its deadliest form. In addition to being the third-deadliest infectious disease for children, malaria infection and the costs of treatment traps families in a cycle of illness, suffering and poverty.
#WorldMalariaDay, marked each year on 25 April, is an occasion to highlight the need for continued investment and sustained political commitment for malaria prevention and control.
The suffering experienced by people and the death toll from malaria can be reduced through a country’s leadership and collective action.
The use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets should be encouraged; it’s one of the cheapest and most effective methods of personal protection against malaria.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has called on the Nigerian Government not to forget about other diseases amid the Novel Coronavirus(COVID-19) pandemic outbreak in the country.
The Officer in Charge, WHO Country Office, Nigeria, Dr Fiona Braka, stated this while answering questions from Journalists at the Presidential task force on COVID- 19
The OIC pointed out that the World Malaria Day drew attention to the devastating impact of this disease on families, communities and societies. “As the world grapples with COVID-19, this is an opportunity to highlight the importance of maintaining robust health systems and continuing delivery of essential health services in times of crisis,” she said.
She stated that African countries including Nigeria have led a massive effort to control the disease and Algeria was certified malaria free in 2019. Braka however, said that there were still 213 million cases in the WHO African Region in 2018, accounting for 93 percent of cases worldwide.
She stressed further that greater political commitment, accelerated investment, and more innovation in malaria prevention and control were urgently required in the country, adding that we must recognize that as long as malaria exists, it threatens the poorest and most vulnerable, and has the potential to re-surge in times of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic facing us now,.
She however called on the federal government to allocate resources, to work across sectors, and to strengthen cross-border collaboration to control malaria in the country. She said that with the required financing, strong coordination, dedicated partners and engaged communities, Nigeria will be a malaria-free Nation.
How can malaria be prevented?
Although it kills nearly one million people every year, malaria is preventable and curable. Some of the main methods of prevention are:
- Insecticide-treated bed nets.
Most malaria-carrying mosquitoes bite at night, so insecticide-treated mosquito nets can be a life-saving barrier. It is important that nets are easy to get hold of – either offered at a subsidized price or given away for free – and that they are designed in a way that is suitable for the local context. Awareness campaigns are also important to make sure that they are used effectively.
- Treating women during pregnancy.
Pregnant women have lower immunity. Doses of anti-malaria during pregnancy can protect both mother and child.
- Health education.
An important part of preventing malaria and malaria deaths is improving people’s understanding of the disease. This includes how to use nets properly to avoid being bitten, awareness of the symptoms, how to get treatment, the importance of getting treatment quickly (particularly for children), and the need to finish a full course of drugs and not stop when you feel better.
- Environmental methods.
Getting rid of pools of stagnant water, clearing bushes from around houses and planting lemon grass can all reduce the number of mosquitoes near