Malaria is a serious, life-threatening, and sometimes fatal, disease spread by mosquitoes and is caused by the Plasmodium parasite. This parasite can be spread to humans through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. According to WHO, in 2018, there were an estimated 228 million cases of malaria worldwide and out of these estimated number of malaria deaths stood at 4,05,000. Every year on 25th April, to highlight the need for the prevention, control and elimination of this disease, World Malaria Day is observed. This day highlights the continuing great achievements in the fight against malaria. It also reminds the need to provide education to the people for better understanding regarding disease malaria and how to cure it.
World Malaria Day: History
World Malaria Day was established in May 2007 at the 60th session of the World Health Assembly, WHO’s decision-making body. World Malaria Day was established with a motive to provide education and understanding of malaria to everyone and also spread the information on “year-long intensified implementation of national malaria-control strategies. Before the establishment of World Malaria Day, Africa Malaria Day used to be held on April 25 to spread awareness about Malaria in Africa. Africa Malaria Day started in 2001.
World Malaria Day: Theme
Like last year, this year’s World Malaria Day theme is “Zero malaria starts with me”. WHO continues to promote its theme “Zero malaria starts with me”, it is a grassroots campaign which aims to keep malaria high on the political agenda, and empower communities to take ownership of malaria prevention and care. This will help in re-energising the world’s fight against malaria and will help in eliminating the disease, which still threatens half of the global population and kills one child every two minutes.
World Malaria Day: Treatment and Prevention
Antimalarial medications have been available for years to treat those infected with the disease. Traditionally, those with malaria who are properly treated can expect a full recovery. Over the time, the antimalarial drugs have become lesser and lesser effective as the parasites of malaria have developed resistance against the medications. WHO has recommended protection for all the people at risk of malaria with effective malaria vector control. Two forms of vector control: insecticide-treated mosquito nets and indoor residual spraying are effective in a wide range of circumstances.
World Malaria Day: Facts
- Malaria is curable and preventable. Recently, Sri Lanka, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates are among countries have eliminated it. Despite this, every year more than 200 million new cases of malaria are reported.
- Approximately 70% of the world’s malaria burden is concentrated in 11 countries. Ten of these countries are on the African continent, other being India. In the year 2017, Africa was home to 92% of malaria cases and 93% of malaria deaths.
- Malaria is an acute febrile illness. Its symptoms usually appear in 10-15 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. At the starting stage its symptoms are fever, headache and chilling effect.
- The main way to prevent and reduce malaria transmission is vector control that is use insecticide-treated mosquito nets and indoor residual spraying.