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TIPS ON MALARIA

  • HOW CAN MOSQUITOES BE CONTROLLED?

    Mosquitoes around the home can be reduced significantly by minimizing the amount of standing water available for mosquito breeding. Residents are urged to reduce standing water around the home in a variety of ways.

  • HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF FROM MOSQUITO-BORN DISEASES?

    The best way is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.This can be accomplished using personal protecting  while outdoors when mosquitoes are present. Treated bed nets should be used sleeping. Mosquito repellent should be used when outdoor.

  • WHO ARE AT RISK?


    Nearly half of the world’s population is at risk of getting malaria. Pregnant women are particularly at risk of malaria. Children under 5 years are at high risk of malaria.
     

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Malaria Strikes, Productivity Stops

By Mzati Nkolokosa, Malawi

The wall clocks in the children's ward at  the  Legon  Hospital  in  Accra, Ghana had stopped weeks earlier.  The time was 10:30am, but one wall clock
in the ward was 2pm, another 1:45pm.

It was symbolic. The productive lives of mothers had stopped too as they tended their sick children. On one bed was four- year-old  Perfect,  who  had  regained considerable strength by the time a team of journalists visited the hospital. She had four  or  five  decayed  teeth,  perhaps  a status symbol, indicating that her parents can afford junk food.   

“She likes sweets,” said her mother, Angela Wonuo, a trader who runs a tailoring shop at Osu in Accra. Now that she is in hospital with Perfect, the tailoring shop has to do without her skills, which some customers specifically ask for.

But that's not all. Perfect's father, Kofi (a common name in Ghana, a name given to  babies born on Friday), has to travel to the hospital twice a day. The family's life has been  disrupted.  Income generation has been affected. If the Wonuos had their say,  they would choose to live without malaria.

Perfect and her parents are just a small part of the picture of malaria in Africa. All malariarelated  losses  combined,  from individuals  through  family  to  national level, are traumatizing for more reasons than just health considerations. Once the disease attacks, production stops more or less like the wall clocks at Legon Hospital.

This is true of most countries in Africa  where one person, especially a child, dies every 30 seconds; and, this is statistics but in reality it is a daughter, son, niece or nephew,  sister  or  brother,  mother  or father.  In  short,  these  deaths  rob  the continent  of  a  bright  future  through children who die young or parents who die and fail to raise their children. It takes just one mosquito bite, perhaps while enjoying your evening meal. That infectious bite passes through stages to become malaria, an infection that reveals  itself in fevers and headaches.

If not treated early enough, this stage of malaria moves into stages that are difficult to treat. Luckily, says Dr Gift Banda from Malawi, most people know the problems that  arise  from  mosquito  bites.  This  is common in Africa. People know malaria  and in most cases their guesses are right. They go in for antimalarials or rush to the hospital where drugs are, in most case, readily  available.  The  drugs  are  usually  prescribed with precision partly because  research on malaria is going on in several countries.

Furthermore, the United States President, George Bush, is committed to the fight against malaria in Africa, as shown in the US government's grant of $1.2 billion to fight the disease in 15 sub-Saharan African countries  in  the  next  five  years,  an American official said in Malawi in mid August 2007.

“President Bush believes in improving lives and  health,  and  remembers  that  the  African man, woman and child are affected by  malaria  every  day,”  said  Carol  Thompson,  the  US  Assistant  Deputy Secretary for African Affairs, at a press  conference  in  the  Malawi's  capital, Lilongwe.

Thompson, on an official visit to Malawi, said  Bush  has  therefore  committed himself  to  ask  the  American  people, through  Congress,  “to  provide  the financial support necessary to make this vision a reality”.

Thompson said the US was concerned that Malaria is killing so many Africans each  year. She said the programme is under Bush's Emergency Plan for Relief. This announcement was first made by US First Lady, Laura Bush in Washington on June  8,  2007.  Malawi's  Secretary  for Health, Dr Wesley Sangala, described the  inclusion  of  Malawi  and  other  African  countries into the programme as “timely  as  government  is  searching  for  an alternative drug to Fansidar SP” which he  said will be phased out next year.

Fansidar  SP,  according  to  Sangala,  has proved incapable of curing malaria in most people.

In Malawi, according to statistics from the Ministry of Health, Malaria is the country's leading killer disease. Between 18 and 20 per  cent  of  all  hospital  admissions, including  those  suffering  from  HIV  and AIDS and tuberculosis, die of malaria.

With this funding and the commitment of African  medical  personnel  and institutions, the war against malaria is on course there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Children like Perfect and her mother will still  suffer  from  malaria  but  rarely  and  there will be hope for survival. The malaria control clock will move on unlike the Legon Hospital wall clocks.

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