Symptoms, cause, treatment, efforts to eliminate malaria

As the world prepares to celebrate World Malaria Day 2022, it is necessary to take a look at the state of the global pandemic that threatens the lives of millions of people, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.

World Malaria Day is observed annually on April 25 around the world to raise awareness of
the pandemic that continued to claim lives and send millions to hospitals.

It is a day marked by all the Member States of the World Health Organization (WHO) to highlight the collective energy and commitments of the global malaria community to unite around the common goal of a malaria-free world.

The global body says the global observance, themed “Harnessing innovation to reduce malaria disease burden and save lives” in 2022, is a call for investment and innovation that will will bring new vector control approaches, diagnostics, antimalarial drugs and other tools to accelerate the rate of progress against malaria.

The global body added that “no tool available today will solve the problem of malaria”.

It says the 2022 theme aligns with the call for urgently scaling up innovation and rolling out new tools in the fight against malaria and for equitable access to malaria prevention and treatment.

Malaria is a disease caused by a plasmodium parasite, transmitted by the bite of infected female mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles, with variable severity depending on the species of plasmodium.

Symptoms are chills, fever, and sweating, usually occurring a few weeks after being bitten, and treatment includes antimalarial drugs.

According to the WHO, malaria is a preventable and treatable disease that has, however, continued to have devastating effects on the health and livelihoods of people around the world.

The global body said in 2020 there were around 241 million new cases and 627,000 deaths in 85 countries, with more than two-thirds of deaths among children under five living in the West African Region. WHO.

He said that despite steady progress in reducing the global burden of malaria between 2000 and 2015, progress has stalled in recent years, particularly in high-burden countries in sub-Saharan Africa and called for urgent actions to restore the burden of malaria. world on the way to realization. the 2030 goal of a malaria-free world.

The Global Fund says the fight against malaria is one of humanity’s greatest public health successes, with the annual death rate from the disease falling by almost half over the past two decades.

He adds, however, that after years of steady progress, malaria cases and deaths are on the rise “and today a child dies of malaria every minute.”

The Fund says, “Funding has plateaued, drug and insecticide resistance is rising, and COVID-19 has pushed us even further off track, risking a resurgence of disease and loss of hard-earned gains.

“We cannot allow this decline to continue. This year, the world has an opportunity to fight for what matters and invest more to protect hard-won gains and get back on track to reduce malaria cases and deaths.

He suggested ways to reduce the risk of infection, including applying insect repellent containing DEET (diethyltoluamide) to exposed skin, draping mosquito nets over beds, and putting screens on windows and doors.

Other ways are to treat clothing, mosquito nets, tents, sleeping bags and other fabrics with an insect repellent called permethrin.

For its part, the RBM Partnership to End Malaria says the WMD 2022 celebration is an opportunity for the global community to speak out in unison to keep malaria high on the global agenda, adding that “we need to create a sense of urgency and communicate optimism for what we can achieve together if we act now.

The Partnership, which is the world’s largest platform for coordinated action towards a malaria-free world comprising more than 500 members, says its main advocacy goal for 2022 is to inspire the global community to support a fully replenished Global Fund. at least $18 billion. for programs between 2024 and 2026.

He adds that “achieving this goal will ensure that the majority of global malaria programs are fully funded and we can reduce malaria cases by 66% and malaria deaths by 62% between 2020 and 2026.

It says the effort will also increase coverage of insecticide-treated bed nets in Africa by 19% by 2026, ensure that all eligible pregnant women receive at least three doses of malaria preventive treatment by 2025, treat 500 million cases of malaria through public sector systems between 2021 and 2026 and eliminate malaria in six more countries.

Meanwhile, the World Malaria Report 2020 reported that Nigeria had the highest number of malaria cases in the world (27% of global malaria cases) in 2019 and accounted for the highest number of deaths ( 23% of malaria deaths worldwide).

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He said, “Malaria is transmitted throughout Nigeria; 76% of the population live in areas with high transmission, while 24% live in areas with low transmission. The transmission season can last all year round in the south and around three months or less in the north of the country.

“The main vector in most of the country is the Anopheles mosquito.”

The report says that prevention programs focus on promoting bed nets called long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLITNs), as well as educating families and health care providers about the importance of mosquito nets to prevent mosquito bites.

The Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, recently stated that “Malaria has killed and continues to kill more people in Africa than HIV and COVID-19.

He made the remark when a team from Godrej Nigeria Limited, makers of GoodKnight Power Shots insecticide, paid him a courtesy call in Abuja.

He praised the team for donating 10,000 units of insecticide for the fight against malaria in the country, saying it would go a long way towards the crusade.

Malaria deaths are usually related to one or more serious complications, including cerebral malaria.

This is because if blood cells filled with parasites block small blood vessels in the brain, brain swelling or brain damage can occur. Cerebral malaria can also cause seizures and coma.

the first malaria vaccine to be approved was RTS,S (brand name Mosquirix), developed by GlaxoSmithKline and which was approved in 2015 in Europe, allowing the WHO to make recommendations for its use in Africa.

RTS,S has been approved specifically for use in infants and young children aged six weeks to 17 months.

In a study of nearly 16,000 young children in Africa, the vaccine successfully prevented malaria infection in about 46% of young children aged five to 17 months and 27% of infants aged six to 12 weeks.

RTS,S, a recombinant vaccine designed to express P. falciparum proteins is able to stimulate the production of antibodies against the parasite.

In conclusion, therefore, WHO’s call for investment and innovation to bring new vector control approaches, diagnostics, antimalarial drugs and other tools to accelerate the pace of progress against malaria is relevant.

This is because the global body has realized that “no tool available today will solve the problem of malaria”. (NOPE)

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