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Malaria Fatalities Tally over 100,000 in Africa Each Year

 article about Malaria problem in africa
2004-05-22 05:04:31
Uganda joined the rest of Africa on the 15th of April in marking the Africa Malaria day with a theme: "A Malaria Free Future - Children for Children Roll Back Malaria."

Globally, every 30 seconds a child dies of malaria with the vast majority of deaths occurring in Africa, South of the Sahara. Infection is primarily among pregnant women and children under five years of age, accounting for around 20% of deaths and 10% of the continent's overall disease burden.

There are at least 300 million acute cases of malaria, each year globally, resulting in a million deaths. Ninety percent of these deaths occur in Africa, mostly in young children. The disease has been estimated to cost Africa more than $12 billion every year in Gross Domestic Product, even though it could be controlled at a fraction of that amount. In Uganda alone its estimated that the country spends up to $50 million and many of the poorest families spend one quarter of their earnings on malaria treatment each year. The countrys death figure alone in children below the age of five ranges form 70,000-110,000 every year.

Pregnant women are also widely affected. In Uganda, about 1.3 million women become pregnant each year- about 80-90% of them are at risk of contracting malaria. The anopheles mosquito carries the disease malaria. Malaria contraction among pregnant women results in high numbers of miscarriages. Studies have shown that the parasites that cause malaria like to live in the placenta and because the fetus gets all its nutrients and oxygen through the placenta, the parasites end up blocking the placenta, denying the baby adequate nutrition. This eventually can lead to a spontaneous termination of the pregnancy.

Malaria in Africa as a whole accounts for 40% of public health expenditures, 30-50% of inpatient admissions, and up to 50% of out patients visits in areas with high malaria transmission. Malaria kills more people today than it did 30 years ago. Many factors have contributed to this gloomy picture including those which relate to the vector, the female anopheles mosquito. Human activity has inadvertently created more mosquito breeding sites. The impact of the increasing mosquito population and their migratory behavior has increased the incidence and spread of malaria. The region is also home to the most efficient and therefore most deadly mosquito species which transmit the disease, moreover many countries in Africa lack the infrastructure and resources necessary to mount sustainable campaigns against malaria.

Health officials, however, advise that a strategy of treating malaria among pregnant women has been developed through the Malaria In Pregnancy (MIP) control policy guidelines. Pregnant women should be treated with low doses of sulfadoxine pyimethamine (SP) and an intermittent preventive treatment, while women with clinical malaria get prompt treatment.

The Health Ministrys goals for the year of 2005 are:

An increase to at least 60% of all pregnant women are protected by pesticide treated nets for sleeping.

An increase to 60% of all pregnant women with clinical malaria to get appropriate medical treatment, including drug treatment.

Currently, the use of Insect Treatment Nets (ITNS) is still low due to the cost of the initial purchase and further treatments to sustain effectiveness. It can easily been seen that the real killer of malaria victims is actually poverty.



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