A long-known war has existed for long between Africa and Malaria. We might ask, is it really a war? Yes, it is. Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by a parasite called plasmodium, which is transmitted to humans from the bite of an infected mosquito. It has claimed millions of lives in Africa and the world at large. Each year over 241 million infected cases of malaria are being reported, and an estimate of over 627,000 thousand death cases and Africa is home to over 95% of both infection and death cases. This war does not involve the use of arms and nuclear weapons, yet it’s very deadly. in 2017 five countries accounted for almost half of all malaria cases worldwide, it would be to note that Africa produced four of the five countries. These countries include Nigeria 20% Democratic Republic of the Congo 11% Mozambique 5% and Uganda 4%.
Why The Fight?
The African region carries an excessively high share of the global malaria burden. According to malariafreefuture.org, the economic impact of malaria is estimated to cost Africa $12 billion dollars every year. This figure is borne out of the cost of health care, absenteeism from workplace, days lost in education, loss of investment and tourism etc. Note that this amount doesn’t supersede the loss of a child as a result of Malaria, it is the leading cause of death for children below five years in sub-Sahara Africa, killing a child every 60 seconds which results to over 627,000 thousand death cases annually.
How Do We Win?
The transmission of malaria in USA was eliminated in the early 1950’s. How? This was achieved via the use of insecticides, proper drainage ditches, and the incredible power of window screens. But hold on, Africa remains the most underdeveloped continent across the world, it contains over 70% of the least developed countries in the world with it housing the newly over-throned WORLD’S POVERTY CAPITAL (WPC) Nigeria. These alone puts Africa at greater risk of losing this war. However, the underlining steps if properly applied, we stand a chance to collectively win;
- Proper Drainage System: Africa has been home to mostly under-developed and developing countries, it’s no magic that it has one of the poorest drainage systems. This leads to stagnant water spread across residential environments. Mosquitoes finds these places a perfect breeding sites, multiplying their population as rapid as it can be. Proper drainage system gives this exo-parasite little chance of survival and reproduction.
- Proper Treatment: It is now common to an average African that an increase in temperature accompanying with headache, is automatically tagged malaria. This individual runs down to the nearest drug shop and stocks up pain and malaria drugs that the efficacy most times should be questioned. It doesn’t end there, after a day or two of taking these drugs and he notices that the feverish condition and headache seems to have vanished, he automatically stops taking his medication, thereby not completing his dose. This leads to the parasite building resistance to these drugs, thereby making further treatment difficult. This scenario has led to various individuals treating malaria almost on a monthly basis. Proper treatment reduces the spread and increases efficacy of this drugs.
- Maintaining A clean Healthy Environment: in an unclean environment, mosquitoes strive. Getting every corner cleaned up not just reprove them it helps live a healthy live also.
- The Use of Treated Mosquito nets: The disbursement of these nets go through various treatment phases, every home that is prone to this attack should have the family sleep under the net. Malaria is very harmful to an unborn child; every pregnant woman should be encouraged to always sleep on a netted bed.
- The use of Screens on our windows and Doors: this serves as barriers to prevent mosquitoes from entering our homes.
- The Vaccine: In October 2021, The World Health Organization, recommended the large scale use of the vaccine RTS,S known with the brand name Mosquirix for children living in areas with moderate to high malaria transmission. According to news page of the who.int website on 21 April 2022, over 1 million African children have received one or more doses of the world’s first malaria vaccine. There is growth and with proper intensity and strategies, this numbers will increase with time.
- Eradicate Corruption: Corruption has done more harm than good in every sector in the African economy, the health system is not left out and has been badly hit. Tackling corruption should be a top priority in every African Sector.
Are we winning the war? Can we win the war? I will leave these two questions for you to answer. But till then, Malaria is CONQUERABLE, and we will conquer it.