A 3 year old boy in North Eastern Nigeria lay semi-conscious on a raffia mat. His parents grow concerned as his body is very stiff, he’s sweating profusely and his body temperature is extremely hot. In absolute panic, his father rushes him to a healthcare center and begs the doctor on duty to examine the child.
The doctor quickly examines the child, ‘’this is serious’’ he says as he reaches out to take the boy’s blood sample for a test. The child is immediately put on drip. 30 minutes later the results are ready; the child has malaria. The doctor immediately injects the child with an anti-malarial drug to stabilize the child’s condition. 4 hours later, the child’s temperature reduces, he regains consciousness, ‘’mama, papa’’ he calls out for his parent from his hospital bed. One life saved.
Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite called P.falciparum. It is transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes with symptoms such as fever. If left untreated, Malaria can kill. Children and pregnant women bear the brunt of the disease as more than 70% of deaths due to Malaria are recorded among children less than five years of age.
World Malaria Day is celebrated on the 25th of April every year. The commemoration aims to create awareness on malaria prevention/control, renew political, domestic and international commitments, fight malaria and advocate for disease funding. The commemoration also affords the opportunity to bring to fore the devastating effect of malaria on families, communities and the economy. The theme for this year ‘’Ready to beat Malaria’’ underscores the collective energy and commitment of the global malaria community in uniting around the common goal of a world free of malaria and double up efforts to defeat the disease. While the disease is rare in temperate climates, malaria prevalence in tropical and subtropical countries remains a key public health challenge.
For more information please visit WHO Africa website http://www.afro.who.int/