Today we celebrate the prevention efforts and early detection and treatment of a disease that you may not know you are at risk for: malaria. According to the World Health Organization, half of the world’s population is at risk for contracting malaria. Although mortality rates are declining, there were 207 million reported cases of malaria last year and the disease claimed 627,000 lives in 2011.
Although the disease can affect anyone, the populations who are most at risk are children and pregnant women – two populations that FIMRC works with closely. The disease is transmitted through mosquitoes, and preventing bites from mosquitoes that carry the parasite causing malaria is imperative in preventing the disease.
The disease is most prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa and preventative measures as well as diagnosis and treatment are offered at Project Bumwalukani, Uganda. Health educators teach prevention methods as well as what the symptoms of malaria are to ensure prompt diagnosis. Sleeping under a insecticide-treated mosquito net can reduce the risk of contracting malaria by up to 50%, so our clinic offers net retreatments multiple times per year to replace repellents on nets. In our clinic, patients who show symptoms and all pregnant women are tested for malaria in our lab, and, if diagnosed, are able to receive medication for treatment.
While efforts are underway to develop a vaccine to prevent malaria, prevention and early diagnosis have been proven most effective in alleviating the global burden of malaria infection and mortality. For more information about World Malaria Day, visit the World Health Organizations website here.