Jayfm Commentary: World Malaria Day
Written by Joey Shekwonuzhibo on April 25, 2022
World Malaria Day is observed on 25 April annually to raise awareness about this life-threatening disease.
Malaria is an acute disease caused by a plasmodium parasite, transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes. Some of the symptoms include fever, headache, weakness of the body, and nausea.
Acute cases may lead to complications such as liver failure, kidney failure, unusually low blood glucose,
swelling and rupturing of the spleen, sudden fall in blood pressure, and pulmonary edema.
Every 25th of April, the World Health organization observes this day in a bid to channel concerted and global efforts toward effectively controlling the disease.
The theme for World Malaria Day 2022 is “Harness innovation to reduce the malaria disease burden and save lives.”
In spite of efforts geared towards reducing the global burden of malaria in the last decade, not much progress has been achieved especially in countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
According to the World Health organization, in 2020, there were an estimated 241 million new cases of malaria and 627 000 malaria-related deaths in 85 countries and more than two-thirds of deaths were among children under the age of 5 living in the WHO African Region.
Anti-malaria drugs include chloroquine, artemether/lumefantrine (Coartem), and primaquine phosphate (Primaquine) have been used to combat the disease for many years.
However, in October 2021, WHO recommended the wide use of the RTS, S malaria vaccine for young children living in areas with moderate and high malaria transmission, making it the first vaccine to address the parasitic infection.
RTS, S is a recombinant protein-based malaria vaccine.
The recommendation informed an ongoing WHO-coordinated pilot program in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi that has reached many children since 2019.
The World Health organization on 21st April 2022 in a press release ahead of 2022 World Malaria Day disclosed that about one million children in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi have received one or more doses of the world’s first malaria vaccine.