In an era where medical science has a cure for virtually every ailment and disease, it seems there are still diseases which refuse to fade into the sands of time.
One such disease is malaria. After more than a decade of making steady advances in the fight against malaria, it seems medical progress has levelled off.
The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) latest World malaria report shows no noteworthy gains in dropping malaria cases during the period of 2015 to 2017. In fact, according to WHO, it is estimated that approximately 435 000 people died due to malaria.
With a staggering amount of malaria-related deaths, did you know today, April 25, is World Malaria Day?
World Malaria Day is an international observance which takes place every year on April 25, recognising global efforts to control malaria.
Malaria is an infectious disease spread through the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito. The mosquito bite introduces the malaria parasites from the mosquito’s saliva into a person’s blood system. These parasites travel to the liver where they mature and reproduce.
How do you know you have malaria? What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of malaria include fever, tiredness, vomiting and headaches. In serious cases, the disease can cause yellow skin, seizures, coma and even death.
These symptoms, however, usually only begin 10 to 15 days after a person has been bitten by an infected mosquito.
Until recently, there has been no vaccine for malaria.
This month, Malawi has become the first country to start immunizing children against malaria. To date, it is the only country to use the only licensed vaccine to protect people against the disease.
Known as Mosquirix, the vaccine was developed by GlaxoSmithKline, and was approved by the European Medicines Agency. According to reports, a previous trial shows the vaccine is about 30% effective in children who get four doses. However, the protection it offers wanes over time.
While the vaccine is still somewhat flawed, it has the potential to save thousands of lives in the future as medical science develops.
As World Malaria Day offers people the opportunity to promote and learn more about malaria and the efforts to reduce it around the world, today reminds us about the importance of good healthcare in order to prevent and treat diseases such as malaria.