Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness.
In areas of high transmission of malaria, children under 5 are particularly susceptible to infection, illness and death.
Facts about malaria
- Malaria is a major public health problem in Nigeria where it accounts for more cases and deaths than any other country in the world.
- Malaria is a risk for 97% of Nigeria’s population. The remaining 3% of the population live in the malaria free highlands.
- There are an estimated 100 million malaria cases with over 300,000 deaths per year in Nigeria. This compares with 215,000 deaths per year in Nigeria from HIV/AIDS.
- Malaria contributes to an estimated 11% of maternal mortality.
- Malaria accounts for 60% of outpatient visits and 30% of hospitalizations among children under five years of age in Nigeria.
The society for family health equally states that Malaria is particularly severe among pregnant women and children under 5 years of age, due to their relatively lower levels of immunity. Malaria has the highest burden of disease in Nigeria – with an estimated 300,000 children dying of malaria each year. It accounts for over 25% of infant mortality (children under aged one), 30% of childhood mortality (children under five), and 11% of maternal mortality.
Early diagnosis and treatment of malaria can prevent it developing into a severe condition which could be fatal.
Although malaria can be a deadly disease, illness and death from malaria can usually be prevented.
It is estimated that prevention alone could save Nigeria billions of Naira in treatment expenses
Prevention programmes focus on the:
- Promotion and use of mosquito bed nets, called Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets (LLINS) Properly used, insecticide-treated nets can cut malaria transmission by at least 50 per cent and child deaths by 20 per cent.
- Personal protection measures: Mosquito coils and body repellents (sprays and lotions) are often used for individual protection but they are not effective for general use as a control measure and are relatively expensive. In particular, they may be useful to protect an individual from a non-endemic area or a primigravida. It is advisable for everyone to wear long protective clothing while outdoors to prevent mosquito bites, and to put wire screens on windows
- Insecticide spraying
- Prompt diagnosis and effective treatment of malaria infections.
- Education for families and health care providers on the importance of using bed nets to prevent mosquito bites, the mode of transmission for malaria. LLINs are an inexpensive and easy way of preventing malaria and thus reduce its burden on the health and economic well-being of Nigerians. Some LLINs are effective for up to 4 years and will last a minimum of 20 washes – they require no re-treatment during this time, making them 5-10 times more effective than conventional re-treatable mosquito nets. LLINs are an inexpensive and easy way of preventing malaria and thus reduce its burden on the health and economic well-being of Nigerians.
When prevention fails, treatment of malaria is critical, left untreated, they may develop severe complications and die.
The current WHO-recommended first-line treatment for the majority of malaria cases is artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT). These medicines, in addition to diagnostics, are available to treat and in some cases prevent malaria. The current WHO-recommended first-line treatment for the majority of malaria cases is artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT). These medicines, in addition to diagnostics, are available to treat and in some cases prevent malaria.
Don’t manage malaria, ensure an early diagnosis and prompt treatment for all kids.
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