World Malaria Day(WMD) is an international observance commemorated every year on 25 April and recognizes global efforts to control malaria. Globally, 3.3 billion people in 106 countries are at a risk of malaria. In 2012, malaria caused an estimated 627,000 deaths, mostly among African children, Asia, Latin America, and to lesser extent the Middle East and parts of Europe are also affected. World Malaria Day sprang out of the efforts taking place across the African continent to commemorate Africa Malaria Day. World Malaria Day is one of the 11 official global public health campaigns currently marked by the World Health Organization(WHO).
According to the most recent World Malaria Report, the global tally of malaria reached 429,000 malaria deaths and 212 million new cases in 2015. The rate of new malaria cases fell by 21 percent globally between 2010 and 2015, and malaria death rates fell by 29 percent in the same period. World Malaria Day was established in May,2007 by the 60th session of the World Health Assembly, WHO’s decision-making body. The day was established to provide “education and understanding malaria”, and spread information on “year-long intensified implementation of national malaria-control strategies, including community-based activities for malaria prevention and treatment in endemic areas”. Prior to the establishment of World Malaria Day, Africa Malaria Day was held on April 25. Africa Malaria Day began in 2001, one year after the historic Abuja Declaration was signed by 44 malaria-endemic countries.
WHAT IS MALARIA?
Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite. The parasite is spread to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes. People who have malaria usually feel very sick with a high fever and shaking chills. While the disease is uncommon in temperate climates, malaria is still common in tropical and subtropical countries. To reduce malaria infections, World Health programs distribute preventive drugs and insecticide-treated bed nets to protect people from mosquito bites.
Malaria is caused by a single-celled parasite of the genus plasmodium. The parasite is transmitted to humans most commonly through mosquito bites. Mosquito transmission cycle:-
- Uninfected mosquito- a mosquito becomes infected by feeding on a person who has malaria.
- Transmission of parasite- if this mosquito bites in the future, it can transmit the malaria parasites to the person.
- In the liver- once the parasite enters the body, they travel to the liver where some types of them can lie dormant for as long as a year.
- Into the bloodstream- when the parasites mature, they leave the liver and infect the red blood cells. This is when people typically develop malaria symptoms.
- Onto the next person- if an uninfected mosquito bites someone at this point of time, it will become infected and pass on to the next person it bites.
Malaria can be fatal especially when caused by the plasmodium species common in Africa. Malaria deaths are usually related to one or more serious complications including:-
- cerebral malaria– if parasite-filled blood cells block small blood vessels to brain, swelling of brain or brain damage may occur.
- breathing problems– accumulated fluid in lungs (pulmonary edema) can make it difficult to breathe.
- organ failure– malaria can damage the kidneys or liver or cause the spleen to rupture.
- Anemia- malaria may result in not having enough red blood cells for an adequate supply of oxygen to body’s tissues.
- low blood sugar.