The proverb prevention is better than cure typifies why it’s easier to stop something happening in the first place than to repair the damage after it has happened. Malaria is an age-old endemic of human health and has killed millions of people mostly children aged 5 years or younger in rural sub-Saharan Africa.
Efforts have been made no doubt for curative treatment by various health bodies in the last decade hence there has been a decline in the number of deaths across the continent and the world at large. While this life-threatening disease is now a thing of the past for most first world countries, developing countries are still struggling with this disease statistics have shown.
According to the latest World malaria report, released in December 2019, there was a combined 459million cases of malaria in 2017 and 2018 with a mortality rate of 0.18% (approximately 821,000 deaths). Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites which are spread to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes often nicknamed Marsh mosquitoes because species in the insect’s genus deposit eggs on the surface of water or on objects near the water’s edge.
Recent reports have shown how this vector is rapidly becoming resistant to our best defenses: drugs, insecticide and or pesticides alike.
While resistance to insecticides is not really the fault of humans, same cannot be said about resistance of P.falciparum parasites to drugs. This arises from various factors most of which are human and include: overuse of antimalarial drugs for prophylaxis, incomplete curative treatments of active infections often leading to recrudescence, a high level of parasite adaptability at the genetic and metabolic levels.
As WHO’s theme for the World Malaria Day 2020 states that “Zero malaria starts with me” we all have our role to play to ensure a malaria free society by adopting a radically preventive approach to this parasite
The view of prevention can be assessed from three perspectives
1. Prevention of breeding:
The life cycle of the female anopheles mosquito encompasses a larvae stage. Mosquito larva is shed in water logged areas where stagnant water is the order of the day. In view of this breeding can be prevented by ensuring proper drainage systems particularly during the rainy seasons in communities susceptible to this problem. As mosquito larvae is not shed in moving water a keep-all-water moving proposition would seem reasonable to also prevent breeding
2. A second approach would be to prevent the mosquito from having a blood meal because the parasite itself is shed unknowingly by the infected mosquito while doing this. The female anopheles mosquito also requires blood meal to develop eggs. Preventing this can be ensured by using bed nets, wearing protective clothing at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are very active and applying mosquito repellent creams to exposed areas of the body
3. Prevent entry by installing window screens at home. Unnecessary opening of doors should also be desisted from.
On today’s World Malaria day, I enjoin us all to contribute our quota to ensure a malaria free society. Remember
” Zero malaria begins with you and me”
Thank you. Kindly like and share to your loved ones