World Malaria Day: End Malaria for good

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Ranjan K Baruah

Malaria is one of the common diseases in many parts of the world. Though it is preventive but still it is affecting millions in present day. Malaria is caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected mosquitoes. It is caused by plasmodium parasites that are spread to people through the bites of infected Anopheles mosquito vectors. Of the 5 parasites species that cause malaria in humans, Plasmodium falciparum is the most deadly.

The World Malaria Report, published annually by World Health Organisation (WHO), tracks progress and trends in malaria control and elimination across the globe. The 2016 report draws on data from 91 countries and areas with ongoing malaria transmission.
According to the report, there were 212 million new cases of malaria worldwide in 2015 (range 148–304 million). The WHO African Region accounted for most global cases of malaria (90%), followed by the South-East Asia Region (7%) and the Eastern Mediterranean Region (2%).

In 2015, there were an estimated 429 000 malaria deaths (range 235 000–639 000) worldwide. Most of these deaths occurred in the African Region (92%), followed by the South-East Asia Region (6%) and the Eastern Mediterranean Region (2%).
Between 2010 and 2015, malaria incidence rates (new malaria cases) fell by 21% globally and in the African Region. During this same period, malaria mortality rates fell by an estimated 29% globally and by 31% in the African Region.

Other regions have achieved impressive reductions in their malaria burden. Since 2010, the malaria mortality rate declined by 58% in the Western Pacific Region, by 46% in the South-East Asia Region, by 37% in the Region of the Americas and by 6% in the Eastern Mediterranean Region. In 2015, the European Region was malaria-free: all 53 countries in the region reported at least 1 year of zero locally-acquired cases of malaria.
Children under 5 are particularly susceptible to malaria illness, infection and death. In 2015, malaria killed an estimated 303 000 under-fives globally, including 292 000 in the African Region. Between 2010 and 2015, the malaria mortality rate among children under 5 fell by an estimated 35%. Nevertheless, malaria remains a major killer of under-fives, claiming the life of 1 child every 2 minutes.

World Malaria Day which is observed on 25th April every year is an occasion to highlight the need for continued investment and sustained political commitment for malaria prevention and control. This year’s global theme for World Malaria Day is End Malaria for Good. Governments, international organisation, donor agencies, media, civil society organisation must work together to end malaria from the world.

Malaria is a major public health problem in India but is preventable and curable. Presently, 80% of malaria occurs among 20% of people classified as “high risk”, although approximately 82% of the country’s population lives in malaria transmission risk areas. These populations at high-risk for malaria are found in some 200 districts of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal and seven north-eastern states. India has developed National Framework for Malaria Elimination in India 2016–2030. Its vision is to eliminate malaria nationally and contribute to improved health, quality of life and alleviation of poverty.

All of us may participate in ending malaria for good. From awareness to action, we may involve ourselves with our limited capacity to end malaria. Let us all take up the challenge to end it as we can be the generation that ends malaria – one of the oldest and deadliest diseases in human history.

Source: The Sangai Express

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