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ANNOUNCEMENTS:::

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 TRANSMISSION STILL HIGH

Four African countries  (Cape Verde,  Eritrea,  South  Africa and Ethiopia) now show levels of  malaria  transmission  that  make elimination a realistic goal.  This is according  to a  study  called:  The changing risk of plasmodium falciparum malaria infection in Africa: 2000-10:  a  special analysis of transmission intensity.

The study entailed the largest  data ever collected on malaria prevalence in Africa, involving  26,746 community-based  surveys.  

These surveys covered  44 malaria-endemic countries  and  territories  on  the continent since 1980.

Published recently in The Lancet, the data shows that there were reductions in the prevalence of malaria infection in children in 40 of the 44 countries in Africa, between 2000 and 2010. It also shows that a quarter of the continent's population-  or 218  million  people- now live in areas with much lower risk of infection.
 
Researchers from the Kenya Medical Research  Institute  (KEMRI),  the University of  Oxford and the WHO Regional  office for Africa compiled the data.

“Despite  the reduction of  malaria incidences,  a  large  proportion  (57 percent) of Africa's population is still vulnerable to  infection,”  states the study.

This information was arrived at using model-based statistics that estimated the proportion of the population aged 2-10 years old infected with different levels  of  plasmodium  falciparum across Africa.

In addition,  the number of  people living in high transmission areas fell from 218.6 million to  183.5 million, representing a 16  percent drop. On the other hand, the population living in areas  where risk of  infection  isconsidered moderate to high increased from 178.6 million to 280.1 million- a 57 percent  increase.

And the population living in areas where risk is regarded as very low increased from 78.2 million to 128.2 million, or a 64 percent increase.

Professor Robert Snow of the KEMRI- Wellcome Trust  Research Programme explains that 87 per cent of the people living in areas of highest endemicity are in just 10 countries.

At another level, population increase has undermined efforts  in  the fight against malaria,  according to researchers. They say that the continent's  population growth  has reduced gains in transmission reduction, given that an extra  200 million  people  are  now  living  in malaria-endemic  regions  compared with the situation in 2000.Efforts in the fight against the disease have seen a lot of financial resources channeled  in that  direction, which has translated  into the gains wit- nessed today.

“The  international  community  has invested  heavily in  malaria control with finance increasing from around $100  million  in  2000  to  nearly  $2 billion in 2013,” explained  Dr Abdisalan Mohamed Noor of KEMRI- Wellcome  Trust Research Programme and University of Oxford, in a press statement.

Even though financial support in the f ight  against  malaria  has  seen  a dramatic jump since 2000 following the initiation of the Roll Back Malaria Programme, the future for this sustained  monetary  lifeline  is  not certain.

As a matter of fact, a 2013 global report on malaria, published by the World Health Organization  (WHO)  notes that the funding  gap has  led  to a slowdown in the expansion of some interventions to control mosquitoes for the second year running.

This  has  particularly affected  the provision and access to  insecticide- treated  nets  in  countries that still experience malaria transmission. For one  thing, the proportion of the population with access to an insecti- cide -treated  net  in  Sub-Saharan Africa remained well under 50 percent in 2013, according to the WHO.

In 2012, only 70 million new bed nets were delivered  to  malaria-endemic countries,  below  the  150  million minimum needed every year to ensure everyone at risk is protected.

On the other hand, up to 136 million nets were distributed in 2013, marking a significant  improvement. Even so, the  outlook for 2014 appears rather promising with estimations suggest- ing  that  200  million  nets  will  be distributed.

At another level,  malaria  diagnosis and  access  to  artemisinin-based combination  therapies (ACTs)  have also increased. The WHO notes thatthe proportion of people  with suspected  malaria who received  a diagnostic  test  in  public  health facilities increased from 44 percent to 64 percent between 2010 and  2012. And ACT treatment courses delivered to countries rose from 76  million in 2006 to 331 million in 2012.

The  fact  that  the  world  is  going through a difficult economic period, explains Professor Snow, is the more reason  there should  be  “continued support for malaria control, not only to sustain the  gains that have been made,  but  also  to  accelerate  the reduction  in  
transmission  intensity where it still remains high.”

Otherwise, he cautions, hundreds of millions of Africans run the  risk of “rebound transmission, with catastrophic consequences.”

Indeed,  the  future could  not  look more uncertain given that the modest gains  achieved  thus  far  could  be derailed by such challenges as emerging cases of resistance  to treatment, over  and  above  the concerns surrounding funding.

“These gains are threatened by emerging resistance to the pyrethroid group  of  insecticides  and  by  the potential appearance of artemisinin- resistant malaria,”  says Dr Kwadwo Koram  of  the  Noguchi  Memorial Institute  of  Medical  Research  in Ghana,  who was quoted  in a press statement.

Global efforts to control and eliminate malaria have saved an estimated 3.3 million  lives since  2000,  reducing malaria mortality rates by 49 percent in Africa and 42 percent globally. This is according to the WHO 2013 report on malaria.

“Increased political commitment and expanded  funding  have  helped  to reduce  malaria  incidence  by  29 percent  globally  and  31  percent in Africa,” says the WHO.

BY GEOFFREY KAMADI - KENYA

Editions: 
Twelfth Edition