ACHIEVING ZERO MALARIA IN AFRICA.
Yes! IT IS POSSIBLE!
Over the years, International efforts on Malaria control have been highly successful but for various reasons, malaria today has come back with some vengeance especially in Africa. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) report 2021, there is about 229million malaria cases worldwide with children aged under 5years being the most vulnerable, accounting for about 67% of malaria deaths globally. WHO African region also reported that the region is currently the home for 94% malaria cases with 6 countries in Africa, accounting for half of all malaria deaths worldwide; Nigeria being first on the list.
Malaria is an acute infectious disease caused by the parasite, Plasmodium and spread by the vector, female Anopheles mosquito. There are 5 species of plasmodium which includes;
1) Plasmodium falciparum which is responsible for majority of malaria deaths globally and it is the most prevalent specie in sub Sahara Africa.
2) Plasmodium vivax is the second most significant specie and it is prevalent in South-East Asia and Latin America.
3) Plasmodium ovale is rare and it represents a little percentage of malaria disease in tropical West Africa
4) Plasmodium malariae represents a small percentage of infection and is spread through Sub Sahara Africa into Indonesia and on the main Islands of the Western Pacific
5) Plasmodium knowlesi is a specie that infects humans and primates. It is found throughout South East Asia.
It is of no doubt that more than half of the world’s population has gotten infected with malaria parasite (WHO, 2019) While relying on the government machinery for control of malaria, it is highly necessary to start from our concerted community which involves You and I.
Here are measures we can carry out to ensure effective control of malaria. Meanwhile, these measures involves three living beings (WHO, 2017)
1) Man (host); Man should be encouraged to protect himself against malaria which involves closing the doors and windows in the evenings to prevent entry of mosquitoes, use of long lasting insecticide treated nets (safest method) mosquito repellent.
✅Early diagnosis and treatment is very essential
✅Laboratory tests should be carried out before commencing treatment.
✅Health workers should be enlightened on the first line of treatment to avoid antimalaria drug
✅Patients compliance cannot be overemphasized as Patient non-compliance has been a major cause of resistant malaria
✅Travelers to endemic areas and high risk individuals living in endemic areas (pregnant women, elderly and patients with end organ failure) should be started on chemoprophylaxis against malaria.
2) Female anopheles mosquito (Vector); Prevent breeding by getting rid of stagnant water, practice good environmental hygiene, prevent mosquito bites to humans
3) Parasite (Agent); Ensure full treatment. Kill asexual forms and prevent progression of disease.
The first line of treatment for Uncomplicated Malaria caused by P falciparum is Artemisinin Based Combination Therapy (ACT) which has proven to be very effective.
In places endemic with P vivax, WHO recommends Chloroquine or ACT for the treatment of uncomplicated P vivax. Primaquine is also recommended to eliminate the latent liver stage infections and prevent relapse, this is known as radical cure.
The burden of malaria has continue to grow in African region,exerting tremendous physical, emotional and financial strain on individuals, families, communities and health care systems.
Recent clinical observations in the North Central region of Nigeria shows that; for every 15 individuals who treat malaria in a week, 55% of them experience a relapse every 2weeks to one month. Thus, there is great concern to combat malaria resistance. Right treatment, Patient compliance, Elimination of self medication, Malaria vaccination and Bioengineering are factors
that can help in combating malaria resistance.
I will not fail to recognise and appreciate concerned Organizations, Health Workers and Individuals who are immensely fighting to ensure ZERO MALARIA in Africa.
Together we can put an end to Malaria.
Happy World Zero Malaria day.
Pharmacist Uzowulu Chidera Blessing
Pharm Chidera is a Young Pharmacist and she can be reached via email firstname.lastname@example.org
1.) WHO, 2017. The Global Burden of disease: 2017 update, World Health Organization, Geneva Clinical infectious diseases, volume 33 Issue 5, 1 September 2001, pages 651-661 Nosten F, NJ. Artemisinin based combination treatment of falciparum Malaria. Am J TropMed Hyg. 2007.
2.) WHO. Global technical strategy for malaria 2016-2030. Geneva: World Health Organization 2015.
WHO, 2020 World Malaria Report: 2020 update, World Health Organization.