Friday, 20 April 2012

Malaria prevention saves lives, we need to do more


Despite the high birth rate, most of the people do not buy more than one mosquito net, reason being that the nets are too expensive.

This year we celebrate Malaria Day under the theme “sustain Gains. Save lives. Invest in malaria.” This has been marked since 2000.

 “More than 40 per cent of the world’s population is at risk from malaria with about 500 million cases every year and more than 1 million deaths in sub-Saharan Africa.”

According to the World Health Organization, world Malaria Day was instituted at its 60th session in May 2007 as a day for recognizing the global effort to provide effective control of malaria.

Despite mass media awareness campaigns mounted by various organizations and the government’s initiative of distributing free treated mosquito nets to rural families.

This allows malaria control partnerships at country level to maximize available resources and achieve rapid and sustained coverage of vulnerable populations.

Net delivery strategies include routine facility-based delivery, mass free distribution for rapid scale up and engagement of the private sector.

The malaria parasite infects healthy red blood cells, where it reproduces. The P. falciparum parasite generates a family of molecules, known as PfEMP1, that are inserted into the surface of the infected red blood cells. The cells become sticky and adhere to the walls of blood vessels in tissues such as the brain. This prevents the cells being flushed through the spleen, where the parasites would be destroyed by the body's immune system, but also restricts blood supply to vital organs.

Symptoms can differ greatly between young and older children depending on previous exposure to the parasite. In young children, the disease can be extremely serious and potentially fatal if untreated; older children and adults who have grown up in endemic areas are resistant to severe malaria but rarely develop the ability to rid their bodies of the parasite.

Each parasite has 'recipes' for around sixty different types of written into its genes. However, the exact recipes differ from parasite to parasite, so every new infection may carry a set of molecules that the immune system has not previously encountered. This has meant that in the past, researchers have ruled out the molecules as vaccine candidates. However there appear to be at least two main classes of PfEMP1 types within every parasite, suggesting different broad tactical approaches to infecting the host. The most efficient tactic or combination of tactics to use may depend on the host’s immunity.


All that is needed is serious awareness that children too need protection from the malaria spreading mosquito as much as pregnant mothers need to be protected.

Most residents have shown cause why there is need to be well educated on the importance of protecting their families from malaria infection by ensuring that each night everyone sleeps under a treated mosquito net.

In a door to door health check, it is revealed some households had mosquito nets and admitted using them every night so as to protect their families against mosquitoes (female anopheles) that cause malaria.

“The idea that addiction is somehow a psychological illness is, I think, totally ridiculous. It's as psychological as malaria. It's a matter of exposure. People, generally speaking, will take any intoxicant or any drug that gives them a pleasant effect if it is available to them.”  William S. Burroughs

However, many admit they do not have enough money to purchase a single net leave for the whole family.

More surprisingly, many say they do not provide nets for their children saying it was a preserve to them as parents and others had them but had laxity to spread them on the bed before sleeping saying it was tiresome .

Others testified they usually fail to retreat the nets after the recommended three months noting that they would rather buy food than purchasing the drug for retreating the nets hence making them very vulnerable to being sick with malaria.

It was clear that the villagers were aware of the dangers posed by mosquitoes and did everything to avoid malaria infections through the consistent use of mosquito nets (those who had mosquito nets).

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