World Malaria Day – 2011

World Malaria Day

25 April 2011

Having worked in areas of the world where malaria is prevalent and seeing many children die of a disease that could so easily be prevented – if we apply our scientific and social minds. It seems the world is now waking up to the waste of human potential caused by this disease and to the possibilities for eradication. One example, on Moheli, a small island making up part of the group of islands called Comores, they have managed to eradicate malaria (not mosquitoes though) by ensuring that all islanders are treated with tablets,so that the mosquitoes cannot transmit malaria. Possible on small islands but more difficult with larger countries.  Perhaps in 10 years time we may be nearer to finding a real breakthrough. In the mean time providing bed nets and immediate follow up if someone does fall to malaria can help a great deal. Just training health workers to use a simple microscope can save lives.

In 2009, about 3.3 billion people – half of the world’s population – were at risk of malaria. Every year, this leads to about 250 million malaria cases and nearly 800 thousand deaths. People living in the poorest countries are the most vulnerable.

World Malaria Day – which was instituted by the World Health Assembly at its 60th session in May 2007 – is a day for recognizing the global effort to provide effective control of malaria. It is an opportunity:

  • for countries in the affected regions to learn from each other’s experiences and support each other’s efforts;
  • for new donors to join a global partnership against malaria;
  • for research and academic institutions to flag their scientific advances to both experts and general public; and
  • for international partners, companies and foundations to showcase their efforts and reflect on how to scale up what has worked.

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