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Let’s Invest in Our Future, Kick Malaria Out!

29-Apr-2015.By: ELSIE Osho

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Malaria has become too common a sickness to the majority that it is often (and wrongly) trademarked as when an individual’s temperature is a little above normal. Some even express themselves and say “It’s just for a while, let me go and buy that my malaria medicine; I have been having this headache that has refused to go and my temperature is quite high”. At times it may not turn out to be malaria, it could just be stress or other illness totally different from the subject matter. Some common symptoms of malaria, which usually appear about 12 to 14 days after infection are- abdominal pain, chills and sweats, diarrhoea, nausea, and vomiting (these symptoms only appear sometimes), headache, high fevers, low blood pressure causing dizziness if moving from a lying or sitting position to a standing position (also called orthostatic hypotension), muscle aches, poor appetite…

On April 25th every year people across the globe take part in a wide range of activities to mark World Malaria Day. In half the world every day is malaria day as they keep up with the fight against this killer disease. This year’s theme--Invest in the Future: Defeat Malaria draws the world’s attention to the need to defeat malaria in the future. Malaria is one of the most serious diseases of the world and kills millions of humans every year. However, malaria can be prevented and defeated.

The need to find a lasting solution to this malaria-menace cannot be overemphasized; in the meantime, we can only but manage it effectively to reduce the number of lives it claims yearly. The World Health Organisation (WHO) revealed that Malaria may be conquered only by full coverage, access to and use of anti-malarial services by priority groups; rapid, accurate diagnosis; prompt and effective patient management (diagnosis, treatment, counselling and education, referral); judicious use of insecticides to kill and repel the mosquito vector, and control of epidemics.

The reason many people of African descent suffer from the blood disease, sickle cell anaemia is because the gene that causes it also confers some immunity to malaria. In Africa, people with a sickle cell gene are more likely to survive and have children. The mosquitoes that carry Plasmodium parasite get it from biting a person or animal that's already been infected. The parasite then goes through various changes that enable it to infect the next creature the mosquito bites. Once it's in you, it multiplies in the liver and changes again, getting ready to infect the next mosquito that bites you. It then enters the bloodstream and invades red blood cells. Eventually, the infected red blood cells burst. This sends the parasites throughout the body and causes symptoms of malaria.

According to Roll Back Malaria, there are an estimated 300 million acute cases of malaria every year around the world, resulting in more than one million deaths. Approximately 90 percent of these deaths occur in Africa, mostly in young children. In particular, children and pregnant women are always at high risk. According to the WHO, 78% of malaria-related deaths occur in children under five, making children one of the most vulnerable groups. Additionally, pregnant women are highly vulnerable since a pregnant women infected with malaria can transfer the disease to its unborn baby. Pregnant women and little children have very little immunity to malaria and consequently, they can die quickly if malaria is transmitted to them, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Everyone is at risk of getting malaria. The most common way of getting infected by malaria is a bite of a mosquito infected by a parasite. The effects on humans are normally high fever, shaking chills and flu-like illness.

Malaria in Nigeria, according to the Nigerian Ministry of Health (MoH), is responsible for 60 percent of outpatient visits to health facilities; 30 percent of childhood deaths; 25 percent of deaths in children under one year; and 11 percent of maternal deaths. The disease is directly contributing to poverty, low productivity, and reduced school attendance in Nigeria. This source is to stress the prevalence of Malaria in our world today.

The symptoms of malaria can begin as early as six to eight days after a bite from an infected mosquito. They include high fever (up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit) with shaking chills, profuse sweating, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, and feeling faint when you stand up or sit up quickly.

If treatment is delayed, more severe complications of malaria can occur. Most people who develop these complications are infected with the P. falciparum species. With proper treatment, symptoms of malaria usually go away quickly, with a cure within two weeks. Without proper treatment, malaria episodes (fever, chills, sweating) can return periodically over a period of years. After repeated exposure, patients will become partially immune and develop milder disease.

Malaria can be prevented, one effective way to prevent malaria is to avoid mosquito bites with the following strategies:

As much as possible, stay indoors in well-screened areas, especially at night when mosquitoes are most active.

Use mosquito nets and bed nets. It's best to treat the nets with the insect repellant.

Wear clothing that covers most of your body.

Use an insect repellent that contains DEET or Picaridin. These repellents are applied directly to your skin, except around your mouth and eyes. If you choose a Picaridin-based repellant, you will need to reapply it every several hours.

Applypermethrinto clothing.

Stay away from mosquito prone areas.

With the mortality rate on the increase as a result of malaria, there is no better time to say- “it’s high time we invest in the future of our unborn generations in order to defeat malaria to its game. This means we start acting more learned by putting to practice all we know on managing malaria and staying disease-free. It doesn’t stop at that, we need to go further, get more informed on the subject matter because it does matter. Let’s put a stop to self-medications and imbibe the habit of going to the clinic to run a proper test; this will reduce the rate of drug abusers in our nation and raise the ratio of those enlightened in the populace. Stop that game you play with your health, it’s only one you’ve, treat it likewise. Together lets invest in our future and defeat malaria. 


Last Updated: 30-Jun-2016 07:39 PM

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