Half of the world population are reportedly at the risk of malaria estimated at about 241 million cases in 2020. Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.
Its prevalence spanning decades has necessitated global efforts, with every April 25 earmarked as World Malaria Day. Tagged “Harness innovation to reduce the malaria disease burden and save lives,” this year’s theme is aimed at scaling up innovation and developing new tools in the fight against malaria.
World Health Organisation estimated malaria deaths at 627 000 in 2020, noting that Africa had a disproportionately high share of 95 per cent cases and 96 per cent deaths. The global health body added that children under five accounted for about 80 per cent of all malaria deaths in the region.
In a 2021 report, the United States Agency for International Development estimated that 76 per cent of Nigeria’s population are at risk of malaria by living in high transmission areas. It stated that Nigeria accounted for 27 per cent of malaria cases and the highest number of deaths (24 per cent) in 2019 globally, according to World Malaria Report, 2020.
However, malaria is preventable and curable. Below are five measures to stave off the life-threatening disease.
To avoid getting down with malaria, it is instructive to maintain a high level of hygiene in the surroundings. Environment littered with stagnant water and waste is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Avoid sleeping outside or in the vicinity mosquitoes like to live and always keep the door closed.
Using insect spray that contains pyrethroids in living and sleeping areas, especially during evening and nighttime hours is one efficient way to prevent malaria. Insect repellent creams or lotions can also be applied to any exposed parts of the skin before going to bed.
Sleeping under the cover of a mosquito net has been proved to be a reliable means of preventing malaria. However its wrong use could be ineffective. Always check that the net is not damaged and always ensure it is properly tucked underneath your mattress.
Know your malaria risks and seek help
Depending on the overall malaria risk at your destination, it might be necessary to take malaria chemoprophylaxis (anti-malarial medication) periodically to prevent malaria. However, it is advised to consult a healthcare provider for appropriate medication use.
Religious use of prescribed medication
If you need anti-malarial medication, don’t forget to take it every day as prescribed especially if you are in an area with high risk of malaria. Depending on the medication, you may have to continue the dose even days after leaving the malaria-affected area.