April 25 is celebrates as World Malaria Day every year. The theme for World Malaria Day this year is ‘End Malaria for Good’.
It is estimated that malaria kills about 400,000 around the world every year.
According to World Health Organization in 2015, malaria prevailed in 91 countries. There were 212 million cases recorded and 429,000 deaths. The statistics show that one child dies of malaria every 2 minutes. Between 2010 and 2015, incidences of malaria fell by 21 per cent globally; malaria mortality rates fell by 29 per cent and by 35 per cent among children under the age of five. In 2015, there were 212 million new cases of malaria and 429,000 deaths.
Malaria is caused due to the Plasmodium parasites which are carried by the female – anopheles mosquito. Out of five, two species of the parasite – P falciparum and P vivax – pose the greatest threat to human beings. Once the mosquito bites the person, the parasite enters the liver infecting the red blood cells.
These begin to grow and reproduce in red blood cells until they swell and burst, releasing new parasites that infect more red blood cells. Once the parasites have infected the blood, the symptoms of malaria begin to appear. The symptoms include fever, headache, chills and vomiting.
WHO aims to end malaria by 2040.
Many nations world wide had been certified by WHO as malaria free.WHO grants this certification when a country has proven, beyond reasonable doubt, that the chain of local transmission of all human malaria parasites has been interrupted nationwide for at least the past 3 consecutive years.
Between 2000 and 2015 around 17 countries were declared as malaria free by WHO.
South Asian countries Maldives and Sri Lanka have been declared as malaria free by WHO.
In India, malaria infected 1.06 million persons in 2015, with 242 confirmed deaths. But by 2030, India too plans to end indigenous transmission of malaria.
WHO has come up with malaria vacccine developed by GlaxoSmithKline and has chosen to try it in three African countires Ghana, Kenya and Malawi. These countires report highest number of malaria cases and death due to it.
Malaria remains one of the world’s most stubborn health challenges, infecting more than 200 million people every year and killing about half a million, most of them children in Africa. Bed netting and insecticides are the chief protection.