World Malaria Day is an annual health day observed across the globe on April 25, with the main objective of controlling the incidence of malaria in developing as well as developed nations. It was first instituted in the year 2007, by the World Health Organisation (WHO), at the 60th session of the World Health Assembly, the decision-making committee of the WHO.
world malaria day

Although malaria can be prevented, every year, at least 200 million cases of the disease are reported. Naturally, the primary goal of this important health event is to spread awareness of the rampant occurrence of malaria, its causes and symptoms, amongst the general public, especially in the tropical and sub-tropical countries in Asia and Africa, where mosquito-borne illnesses affect a huge number of people every year. Also on the agenda is communicating available treatment strategies and protective methods to the global population, on curbing the spread of disease and lowering the fatalities due to malaria.

The theme of this year’s World Malaria Day is “Zero Malaria Starts With Me”. It aims to engage healthcare professionals, political influencers and local communities to work together and take additional efforts to:

Reduce the number of people contracting malaria, and
Increase the access to affordable treatment for malaria

In order to accomplish these targets, it is necessary to understand how malaria is caused, what symptoms present in people and how the disease can be treated.

Causes Of Malaria:

Malaria is, in essence, an acute febrile illness triggered by the bite of the female anopheles mosquito. These mosquitoes act as vectors that carry the disease-causing agent known as plasmodium parasites. They belong to five different species, namely Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium ovale, Plasmodium malariae, and Plasmodium knowlesi, of which the first two are the most deadly. Also Read: Acute Febrile Illness: All You Need To Know About Causes, Symptoms And Treatment Of AFI

Symptoms Of Malaria:

Malaria can affect people of all ages, with its symptoms first presenting only 10 – 15 days after obtaining the infection from a mosquito bite. The typical signs include fever, mild to severe headaches, nausea, vomiting, sweating often, chills and muscle aches.

If left untreated, malaria can lead to grave consequences, such as organ failure of the liver or kidneys. Children and adults are at increased risk of suffering from anaemia, declined immunity and respiratory problems, making them prone to acquiring other lethal infectious ailments, like the current and rapidly spreading COVID-19. Also Read: Coronavirus: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Diagnosis And Treatment Of Malaria:

It is advised to immediately seek medical care from a doctor as soon as indications of malaria are recognized in an individual. The medical expert will conduct a physical exam and additional blood tests, to confirm the diagnosis of malaria. The usual course of treatment for malaria is carried out under hospital environments, wherein prescription antimalarial medications are given to the patient, to ensure their complete recovery.

Nevertheless, the best way to stay healthy and disease-free is prevention. Read on, to gain insight into some simple and proven guidelines, which when followed correctly, will safeguard your family from malaria.

Preventive Measures To Avoid Mosquito Bites And Keep Malaria At Bay:

  • Ensure that doors and windows in all parts of your home have screen guards, to stop the entry of disease-carrying mosquitoes
  • Completely lock and seal all the entrance points to your home – doors, verandahs, windows and exhausts, particularly while sleeping at night.
  • Consume filtered water and take extra efforts to remove all storage containers, nooks and corners at home, with stagnant water, to impede mosquitoes from breeding.
  • Use a protective mosquito net to shield your entire body from the disease-causing insects, while you sleep.
  • Apply ample amounts of insect repellant on exposed regions of skin, like the neck, hands and legs, to avoid mosquito bites, both while spending time outdoors and staying indoors at home.