What is Malaria?
Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by parasites. People with malaria experience fever, chills, and flu-like symptoms. Left untreated, malaria can lead to severe health complications and death. According to the World Health Organization, in 2012 an estimated 207 million cases of malaria occurred worldwide and 627,000 people died.
Recent technological advances and societal participation has helped save the lives of 3.3 million individuals globally and has cut malaria death rates by 45%. These numbers provide hope that complete eradication of malaria is possible. Nigerian Safe Birth Project hopes to further this cause and decrease the millions of individuals suffering from malaria worldwide.
Who is at risk?
Young children from 6 to 36 months and pregnant women are at highest risk. Pregnant women who have not developed an immunity to Malaria have high rates of miscarriage and the disease can lead to death. Pregnant women who have built some immunity in high risk areas also suffer miscarriages and low birth weight especially in their first two pregnancies.
Malaria occurs mostly in impoverished tropical and subtropical areas of the world. In many of the countries affected by malaria, it is a leading cause of illness and death. The financial and social costs of malaria– to individuals, families, communities, and nations– are enormous. Malaria has been estimated to cost Africa more than US$ 12 billion every year in lost GDP, even though it could be controlled for a fraction of that sum. Malaria continues to slow growth by more than 1% a year.
How Can Malaria Cases and Deaths Be Reduced?
Malaria exacts the largest burden on sub-Saharan Africa. Controlling malaria in these regions is extremely difficult. Many factors account for this: an efficient mosquito that spreads the infection, a large population of the most deadly species of the parasite, favorable climate, weak infrastructure to combat the disease, and high intervention costs that are difficult to bear in impoverished communities/countries.
That said, global supporters and national organizations have worked tirelessly to increases the number of safe and effective control interventions. Research and reports on these efforts have proven that the negative impact of malaria on residents of malaria-endemic countries can be dramatically reduced when certain prevention tools are used tactfully.
Early diagnosis and treatment of Malaria prevents deaths, reduces the disease, and reduces transmission. A combination of education, treatment, and prevention can eradicate Malaria in these high risk areas.
What are the symptoms of malaria?
Common symptoms include:
- Body aches
- Stomach problems – These can include:
· Loss of appetite
· Nausea and vomiting
· Belly pain
- Skin that looks yellow – This is called “jaundice.”
- Fast heart rate or breathing
Severe malaria can cause other symptoms, such as:
- Seeing or hearing things that are not really there
- Dark or bloody urine