As the world celebrates the world malaria day, our Communications Officer Olaife Ilori provides staggering statistics and updates on the progress made so far to build a malaria free world.
One of the Sustainable Development Goals is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages and in keeping up with this goal THE MOSQUITOES are thus making it seemingly impossible with their overtly schemed route to ensuring that this one goal does not see the light of day.
Malaria is a life-threatening blood disease caused by parasites transmitted to humans through the bite of the Anopheles mosquito. Once an infected mosquito bites a human and transmits the parasites, those parasites multiply in the host’s liver before infecting and destroying red blood cells.
When an infected mosquito bites a human host, the parasite enters the bloodstream and lays dormant within the liver. For the next 5 to 16 days, the host will show no symptoms but the malaria parasite will begin multiplying asexually. The new malaria parasites are then released into the bloodstream when the red blood cells are infected and begin to multiply again. Some malaria parasites, however, remain in the liver and are not released until later, resulting in recurrence upon an unaffected mosquito being infected once it feeds on an infected individual, and the cycle begins again with the readied symptoms which include cold sensation, shivering, fever, headaches, vomiting, sweats followed by a return to normal temperature, with tiredness.
Globally, an estimated 214 million cases of malaria occur annually and 3.2 billion people are at risk of infection. Approximately 438,000 deaths were attributed to malaria in 2015, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where an estimated 90% of all malaria deaths occur. Upon this record, malaria remains still one of the most severe global public health problems worldwide, particularly in Africa, where Nigeria has the greatest number of malaria cases.
Nigeria, suffering from the world’s greatest malaria burden, with approximately 51 million cases and 207,000 deaths reported annually (approximately 30% of the total malaria burden in Africa), while 97% of the total population (roughly 173 million) is at risk of massive infection. Malaria accounts for 60% of outpatient visits to hospitals which always lead to 11% maternal mortality and 30% child mortality, especially among children less than 5 years. This devastating disease affects the country’s economic productivity, resulting in an estimated monetary loss of about 132 billion Naira in treatment costs, prevention, and other indirect costs.
Since 2000, malaria prevention has played an important role in reducing cases and deaths, primarily through the scale up of insecticide-treated nets and indoor spraying with insecticides. In 2008, the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) in Nigeria adopted a specific plan, the goal of which is to reduce 50% of the malaria burden by 2013 by achieving at least 80% coverage of long-lasting mosquito nets together with other measures, such as 20% of houses in targeted areas receiving Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS), and treatment with two doses of intermittent preventative therapy (IPT) for pregnant women who visit antenatal care clinics. To this effect, the percentage of households with at least one mosquito nets increased to over 70% by 2010, compared to 5% in 2008 with a high rate coming from Kano State, North Central Nigeria.
While in 2015 across other parts of Sub Saharan Africa, an estimated 53% of the population at risk reportedly slept under a treated net compared to 30% in 2010 together with the preventive treatment for pregnant woman.
According to the latest estimates from WHO, many countries with ongoing malaria transmission have reduced their disease burden significantly. On a global scale, new malaria cases fell by 21% between 2010 and 2015, the death rates fell by 29%. Be that as it may, the pace of progress must be greatly accelerated upon this, WHO’s Global Technical Strategy for Malaria has thus called for a 40% reduction in malaria cases and deaths by 90% by year 2030, compared to the 2015 estimation.
2017 is recording a slow and steady progress as it were and with this year’s global theme which is End Malaria for Good, it is indeed hoped that Malaria will be ended for good.