Is it a man? Is it a wild beast? No, it’s a… mosquito. As unbelievable as it might sound, this tiny creature reigns supreme as the most dangerous animal in existence; responsible for causing malaria and millions of deaths globally. Currently, Nigeria accounts for the highest percentage of malaria cases and deaths (25%)in the world.
Pregnant women and children under 5 are very vulnerable as it is a major cause of maternal and infant mortality. Currently 22% of pregnant women don’t receive the recommended doses of preventive therapy and next to pneumonia malaria is the second highest killer of children under 5.
As we celebrate World Malaria Day, we’re driven to remind you that it is still one of the deadliest diseases out there. As always, it’s our duty to keep you healthy and in doing this, we remain committed to providing you with the information you need to prevent the disease. Here’s what you need to know:
- Malaria kills a child every two minutes
- There were 2019 million cases in 2017. 200 million of those cases were from Africa.
- Nigeria accounts for 25% of global malaria cases.
Signs of hope
However, as dire as the stats are, there are encouraging signs that the battle is being won, albeit slowly. Some countries are moving towards eliminating and reducing their malaria burden. In 2017:
- 46 countries reported fewer than 10,000 indigenous malaria cases, up from 37 countries in 2010
- 26 countries reported fewer than 100 malaria cases, up from 15 countries in 2010.
- China and El Salvador reported zero indigenous malaria cases in 2017 – a first for both countries.
Countries that achieve at least 3 consecutive years of zero indigenous malaria cases can apply for an official WHO certification of malaria elimination. In 2018, two countries reached this milestone: Paraguay and Uzbekistan.
So how can you win?
When all is said and done, winning the fight against malaria is down to one person – you! You’re the first line of defense and in order to take malaria out, there’s a need to be familiar with the symptoms as well as preventive measures and treatment options available.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle pain and fatigue
- Chest or abdominal pain
- Vector control is the main way to prevent and reduce malaria transmission.
- WHO recommends two forms of vector control – insecticide-treated mosquito nets and indoor residual spraying– as effective in a wide range of circumstances.
Diagnosis and treatment
- Early diagnosis and treatment of malaria reduces disease and prevents deaths. It also contributes to reducing malaria transmission.
- The best available treatment, particularly for P. falciparum malaria, is artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT).
Finally, it’s best not to self-medicate. If you notice any symptoms, see a medical professional for proper tests and treatment.