Why malaria is still a big problem
Although there’s been significant progress against the disease in the past few decades — death rates have fallen nearly in half — but there’s a long way to go.
That is one of the reasons the World Health Organisation day chose 25 April to annually raise awareness about the disease and try to help people prevent and treat it.
Malaria, a disease caused by a parasite spread by a particular kind of mosquito – the Anopheles – which bites people at mostly night-time, still kills one child every two minutes according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Most of the deaths are in Africa, where over 250 000 children die from the disease every year.
The mosquito-borne disease causes fever and chills. These usually appear during the first 10–15 days after the patient has been bitten by an infected mosquito. In severe cases, and if left untreated, will cause anemia, seizures, and respiratory problems.
Nearly 80% of global malaria deaths in 2017 were from 17 countries in Africa and India. Nigeria topped the list of the first seven countries with 19% of the death.
Other nations with the highest number of malaria deaths in the world are the Democratic Republic of the Congo (11%), Burkina Faso (6%), United Republic of Tanzania (5%), Sierra Leone (4%), Niger (4%) and India (4%).
Together, they accounted for 53% of all global malaria deaths.
The deadly disease is although preventable and curable, the best way to stop people getting the disease is to stop them being bitten by mosquitoes.
Special nets to cover beds, insect repellents and destroying mosquito breeding grounds all help to stop people getting infected.
But a vaccine would be a more effective weapon against malaria.
Until Tuesday, of many trials, none is available and approved for general use.
The World Health Organization announced Tuesday that Malawi is rolling out a pilot program of the world’s first malaria vaccine.
The vaccine, called RTS, S, will be available to everyone under the age of 2. After the rollout in Malawi, vaccination will begin in Ghana and Kenya later this year. In total, 360,000 children will get the vaccinated.