World Malaria Day 2023
Malaria is a curable and preventable disease but remains a persistent and serious threat to public health in many parts of the world. Every year April 25th is observed as World Malaria Day. A perfect storm is currently forming for malaria as a result of inadequate tool coverage, increasing biological threats, and budget shortages. Now it is the time to take bold action to realize our objective of zero malaria by 2030.
World Malaria Day Theme 2023
Our 2023 theme “Time to Deliver Zero Malaria: Invest, Innovate, Implement” emphasizes the need for immediate action and further investment to guarantee that investments made to date have the greatest impact in the fight to end malaria. This World Malaria Day, the global malaria community will gather to celebrate progress and urge countries and partners worldwide to:
- Invest in malaria control and elimination efforts, making aggressive investments to close major budget gaps and expedite progress.
- Innovate to provide transformational and enhanced malaria treatments that are personalized to people in most need.
- Implement national strategies to accelerate progress against this age-old illness by exhibiting leadership, implementing new and sustainable techniques, and scaling up national malaria efforts to reach those most vulnerable
Importance Of World Malaria Day
The WHO African Region carries a high share of the worldwide malaria burden and accounts for 95% of malaria cases and 96% of malaria deaths. The WHO South-East Asia region is the 2nd highest region with malaria burden globally, and India is the largest contributor in this region, accounting for 82.5% of cases and 82% of malarial deaths in the WHO South-East Asia Region.
World Malaria Day is an opportunity to draw global attention to the disease and help reduce the risk of infection. This was evident in the year 2020, when the World Health Organisation (WHO)'s awareness services were disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in a spike in malaria cases per 1000 people (from 81/1000 people in 2000 to 56/1000 people in 2019, followed by 59/1000 people in 2020). On World Malaria Day 2023, let’s stay aware of some of the important facts about malaria.
History Of World Malaria Day
World Malaria Day, established in 2008, evolved from Africa Malaria Day, which had been observed by African countries since 2001. The one-year mark provided an opportunity to assess the state of malaria prevention and mortality objectives in African countries. At the 60th session of the World Health Assembly (a gathering hosted by the World Health Organisation), it was proposed in 2007 that Africa Malaria Day be renamed World Malaria Day 2023 in order to acknowledge the global prevalence of malaria and raise awareness of the worldwide drive to eradicate the disease.
What Is Malaria? What Causes It?
Malaria is an infection caused by any of the 5 species of plasmodium parasite. They are Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium malariae, Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium ovale, and Plasmodium knowlesi. Among the 5 parasite species, Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax are potentially life-threatening. The most common way of getting infected is being bitten by an infected mosquito that got the parasite by biting an individual with malaria. Malaria can also be transmitted from infected mothers to unborn babies, through blood transfusions and sharing drug injecting equipment. Pregnant women, people living with AIDS/HIV, children under five years of age, people with poor immunity, and infants are more likely to develop malaria and serious illness from the infection.
Symptoms To Look Out For
- Chills, sweats, and a high temperature
- Headache, feeling confused
- Diarrhea, stomach pain
- Appetite loss
- Feeling and being sick
- Muscle pain
- Yellow skin or whites of the eyes
- Breathing difficulty, cough, or sore throat
Symptoms generally appear ten to fifteen days after you have been bitten by an infected mosquito. Some people don’t have any symptoms for months after the mosquito bite, and rarely, these parasites can live in the body without causing symptoms for many years.
Can Malaria Be Cured?
Malaria is generally a curable disease if diagnosis and treatment are made promptly. The blood test will confirm the malarial diagnosis and determine the type of parasite. A combination of antimalarial and over-the-counter medicines are prescribed for managing symptoms of malaria. The type of antimalarial medication and duration of the treatment is based on the type of parasite. Examples of antimalarial drugs are chloroquine, mefloquine, atovaquone, quinine, and artemisinin drugs.
Many malarial parasites have developed drug resistance to common medicines used to treat this disorder. This means these parasites continue to grow instead of being killed after the administration of medicine. Overuse and misuse can accelerate the resistance. Hence it is very essential that you take medicines exactly as prescribed by your physician.
Malaria is a serious infection, but it is possible to prevent it. If you live in an area where malaria is common, taking steps to avoid mosquito bites can help lower the chances of getting malaria.
- Apply an insect repellant with diethyltoluamide (DEET) on the skin.
- Sleep under nets treated with insecticides such as permethrin. Sprays containing permethrin can also be applied to clothing.
- Wear pants and long-sleeved shirts to cover your legs and arms, particularly in the evening when mosquitoes are most active.
- Put screens on doors and windows.
If you need to visit an area where malaria is common, consult with a physician well before you plan to travel. He/ she can prescribe you antimalarial medicines. You may need to start taking the medications a few days or weeks before you go. Since October 2021, the WHO recommends the use of malaria vaccine (RTS,S/AS01) among children living in areas where P. falciparum malaria transmission is moderate to high. P. falciparum is the deadliest malaria parasite.
When malaria is not treated properly, it can cause serious health conditions resulting in death. It is very important to seek medical help if you think you have malaria symptoms. Treatment tends to be more effective when started in the early stages of the disease. On this World Malaria Day, let’s take an oath to keep our homes mosquito-free and protect ourselves from malaria.