World Malaria Day observed globally every year on 25th April was established by the 60th session of World Health Assembly in May 2007 to provide knowledge and information about the causes and spread of Malaria, as well as to provide financial and technical support to anti malaria campaigns across the globe. It is an opportunity to deliver education and understanding of malaria as well as to spread information on intensified implementation of national malaria-control strategies, including community-based activities for malaria prevention and treatment in endemic areas.
Every year, World Malaria Day focuses on a particular theme. For 2019, the theme is #ZeroMalariaStartsWithMe#.
FACTS, CAUSE AND PREVENTION
Malaria is a mosquito borne disease caused by Plasmodium parasites, which can be transmitted to people through the bite of female Anopheles mosquitoes. Though, there are five parasite species that cause malaria, two of them namely, Plasmodium Falciparum and Plasmodium Vivax are the deadliest, accounting for nearly 99.7% of malaria cases in the African region and 74.1 % in American region, respectively.
The first symptoms of malaria appear within ten to fifteen days of getting bitten by an infected mosquito. Initial symptoms include high fever, chills, weakness and headache. When untreated, the symptoms can escalate causing serious illnesses, leading to death. Nevertheless, malaria is treatable and proper treatment can be accessed easily even in local primary health centres.
The most important method of preventing malaria is by controlling the spread of its carriers, that is Anopheles mosquitoes.
The World Malaria Report released on 19th November 2018, stated that an estimated 219 million cases of malaria have been reported in the preceding year, causing nearly half a million deaths globally. African countries were the most affected, by being home to 92% of the global malaria cases and 93% of causalities due to malaria.
The theme for World Malaria Day 2019 is laying emphasis on individuals to take responsibilities to aid malaria control through various activities such as use of insecticide treated nets, mosquito repellent, long sleeves at night in areas prone to mosquitoes and most importantly, keeping the environment clean to avoid breeding ground for mosquitoes. It’s also a call of action for the government and other actors to reignite strategies for the eradication of malaria.