World Malaria Day: How Well Has Africa Faired?
By, Bello Shehu Maude
AREWA AGENDA – Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through mosquito bites. Although preventable and curable, the World Health Organization estimates there were 229 million cases worldwide in 2019 and 409,000 deaths. While the World Malaria Report recorded Nigeria as having 25% of the global cases and 24% of global death in 2019.
The illness starts with symptoms such as fever, headaches and chills. Without treatment it can progress quickly to severe illness and often death.
World Heath Organization chooses every 25th of April, to celebrates World Malaria Day (WMD) aimed at taking urgent action in the control of the deadly disease globally. This year’s theme is Zero Malaria: Draw Line Against Malaria
Today’s campaign emphasized on the hashtag of #ZeroMalaria aim at curtailing Malaria by taking live free precautions of sleeping under insecticide treated nets, prevention of water stagnation and fumigation of our surroundings.
In Africa, there have been more deaths from malaria than from coronavirus in the past year as the disease is one of the leading causes of childhood mortality in the region.
Chief Executive Officer of the Global Institute for Disease Elimination, Simon Bland said:
“Even before COVID-19, progress in the global fight against malaria had stalled,”
The first malaria vaccine to meet a World Health Organization specified goal of more than 75% efficacy has been developed by scientists at the University of Oxford, a potentially significant step toward defeating the disease.
“This new vaccine could be a game-changer toward the elimination of malaria, a disease that has killed more people than any other since the beginning of humankind.” Simon reiterated.
From 30 Million cases of Malaria in the 1940’s China has not recorded a single indigenous case of Malaria since August 2016 demonstrating it’s remarkable commitment to end Malaria through the E-2020 initiative. China has really shown incredible commitment to end the disease.
While in Rwanda Malaria recorded incidence drop from 400 per 1000 in 2016 to 148 per 1000 in 2020 and Malaria cases decrease from 4.8m in 2017 to 1.8m in 2020. Also a decrease in severe Malaria from 18,000 in 2016 to 3,000 in 2020. While in terms of death due to Malaria disease Rwanda recorded a decrease from 700 in 2016 to 148 deaths in 2020.
In another development in African continent WHO said Cape Verde has gone for three consecutive years – as of January 2021 – without local malaria transmission, becoming eligible to apply for the World Health Organization (WHO) certification of malaria elimination.
WHO commends Cape Verde for progressively declined cases over the last three decades and in the past three years, the country reported zero indigenous cases.
Over the last 2 decades 11 countries have been certified Malaria free:
🇩🇿 Algeria 🇦🇷 Argentina
🇦🇲 Armenia 🇸🇻 El Salvador 🇰🇬 Kyrgyzstan🇲🇦 Morocco 🇵🇾 Paraguay 🇱🇰 Sri Lanka
🇹🇲 Turkmenistan 🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates🇺🇿 Uzbekistan
Certification of malaria elimination is the official recognition by WHO of a country’s malaria-free status.
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