What do you know about malaria? Test your knowledge:
The mosquito. The anopheles (female) mosquito can inject its victim with malaria, a disease that threatens half the worlds' population, killing more than a million people a year, mostly children and pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa.
Malaria kills a child every 30 seconds. Roughly 2800 children a day. 800,000 children a year.
Malaria is a major cause of anemia, premature birth, infant mortality and maternal deaths. It accounts for 60% of fetal losses and over 10% of maternal deaths. It significantly aggravates the condition of HIV-infected people and increases HIV transmission.
True. Malaria affects productivity and traps communities in continuing poverty. One bout of malaria keeps a child out of school for a month, a father out of work for at least 10 days, and a mother away from her children for a week. Malaria impoverishes millions. The disease causes an average loss of 1.3 % of annual economic growth in countries with intense transmission, as well accounting for as much as 40% of public health expenditure, 30% of inpatient admissions and up to 60% of outpatient visits.
Malaria is preventable and treatable, but fatal if not treated properly with effective medicines. ACTs are considered the front-line drugs which cost $1.00 - $2.00 per treatment. A major problem in endemic areas has been the accessibility and affordability of medicines. Most hospitals are not stocked with the subsidized medicines, which ups the cost of treatment, making it too expensive for the average person who survives on a $1.00 a day.
After 25 years of vaccination research and development, there is still no vaccine available. The disease has over 5000 strands. It will take time to develop a permanent cure, but there is hope. At the start of 2010, Bill Gates donated $10 billion for a 10 year vaccination development plan. Seattle BioMed and PATH lead the way in malaria vaccine clinical trials.
There is not just one solution. To tackle malaria it requires a ramp-up in efforts focused on prevention (distribution of Long-Lasting insecticide nets and insecticide residual sprays), distribution of affordable medicines and of course, a vaccine. Did you know malaria was once a problem in America, killing millions back in the early 1900s? It was eradicated in the 50s through the use of DDT and anti-malaria medicines. History proves it can be stopped.