World Malaria Day 2022: Today ( 25th of April) is recognised globally as world malaria day, with an motto to raise awareness and prevent this mosquito-bite disease. This year the theme for World Malaria Day is “Harness innovation to reduce the malaria disease burden and save lives”. India is amongst the 6 countries that are most prone to malaria and it has been estimated that malaria impacts 241 million individuals globally in 2020.
Early diagnosis and treatment of malaria are vital, else it can lead to complications and be fatal. Let’s understand how we can prevent malaria and how indications can help you navigate whether or not you or someone around you might have contracted malaria.
Malaria is an illness caused by Plasmodium parasites that are transmitted to humans by insect bites from infected female Anopheles mosquitos. Malaria caused in humans occurs by five parasitic species, two of which – P. falciparum and P. vivax are the most dangerous.
While the World Health Organisation (WHO) congratulates the growing number of countries that are approaching, and achieving, zero cases of malaria. A new initiative launched today ( World Malaria Day 2022) aims to halt transmission of the disease in 25 more countries by 2025. Of the 87 countries with malaria, 46 reported fewer than 10 000 cases of the disease in 2019 compared to 26 countries in 2000.
By the end of 2020, 24 countries had reported interrupting malaria transmission for 3 years or more. Of these, 11 were certified malaria-free by WHO.
World Malaria Day 2022: Key drivers of success – How can we prevent, and minimize the impact of Malaria
Malaria in most cases is spread through mosquito bite. To avoid this, the best solution is to keep th exposed parts of your body covered. This is highly encouraged in case you are traveling or living in a malaria-prone area.
Though each country’s elimination journey is unique, common drivers of success have been seen across all regions.
“Success is driven, first and foremost, by political commitment within a malaria-endemic country to end the disease,” said Dr Pedro Alonso, Director of the WHO Global Malaria Programme. “This commitment is translated into domestic funding that is often sustained over many decades, even after a country is malaria-free,” he added.
Most countries that reach zero malaria have strong primary health care systems that ensure access to malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment services, without financial hardship, for everyone living within their borders – regardless of nationality or legal status.
Robust data systems are also key to success, together with strong community engagement. Many countries that eliminate malaria have relied on dedicated networks of volunteer health workers to detect and treat the disease in remote and hard-to-reach areas.
Through the E-2020 initiative, launched in 2017, WHO has supported 21 countries in their efforts to get to zero malaria cases within the 2020 timeline. A new WHO report summarizes progress and lessons learned in these countries over the last 3 years.
According to the report, 8 of the E-2020 member countries reported zero indigenous cases of human malaria by the end of 2020: Algeria, Belize, Cabo Verde, China, El Salvador, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Malaysia and Paraguay. In Malaysia, the P. knowlesi parasite, normally found in monkeys, infected approximately 2600 people in 2020.
A number of other countries made excellent progress: Timor-Leste reported only 1 indigenous case, while 3 other countries – Bhutan, Costa Rica and Nepal – reported fewer than 100 cases.
Prevention is better than cure. Be mindful of your surroundings and take the necessary preventive measures to avoid catching malaria altogether.