World Malaria Day 2023
25th April 2023 is World Malaria Day. A day recognised globally to highlight the need for continued investment and political commitment to help prevent and control this curable disease.
What is malaria?
Malaria is a life threatening disease spread by mosquitoes. It is more commonly found in tropical and subtropical countries.
It is not contagious. It is prevented by avoiding mosquito bites and with medicines.
Key Facts (from the World Health Organisation)
- In 2021 – an estimated 247 million cases of malaria worldwide
- In 2021 – an estimated 619,000 malaria deaths
- In 2021 – Africa was home to 95% of malaria cases and 96% of malaria death
- Children under 5 made up about 80% of all malaria deaths
What are the symptoms?
The first symptoms usually appear within 10-15 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. Symptoms include fever, headaches and chills. The symptoms can be mild and difficult to recognise. Severe symptoms include fatigue, confusion, seizures and difficulty breathing.
Testing is available to diagnose malaria. If symptoms are not treated within 24 hours, it can lead to severe illness and death.
Malaria is preventable and treatable
There are various and simple ways to prevent malaria including:
- Taking antimalarial medicine
- Using insect repellent
- Sleeping under mosquito nets
- Covering your arms and legs with clothing
It is a serious infection and always requires medicine. The treatment course will depend on the type or malaria, whether a malaria parasite is resistant to a medicine, the weight and age of the person and whether they are pregnant.
A vaccine is also available which has been shown to significantly reduce the disease.
Unfortunately, the world is not on track to reaching two targets set by the World Health Organisation; 1) reducing global malaria cases by 90% or more by 2030 and 2) reducing the global malaria mortality by 90% or more by 2030.
Early diagnosis and treatment of malaria prevents illness and death. World Malaria Day is so important to raise greater awareness so that ultimately malaria can be eradicated.