Humanhealth is one of the greatest global concerns. In the recent past,the world has been brought to a standstill due to the emergence ofnew and chronic diseases. Among the deadliest disease is Malaria.Malaria is one of the diseases which have affected people in SouthAmerica, Africa and Asia. Institutions of health research andeconomies all over the world have committed millions of dollars tocome up with ways of eradicating this menace. Despite the successmade by these entities, no final solution of doing away with thisdisease has been reached. Malaria continues to weaken labor forces indifferent economies as a result of sickness, deaths and a lot ofmoney being used to deliver curative services. In my opinion, lack ofawareness campaign has been a major setback in the prevention ofMalaria.
Malariais a disease transmitted between two or more human beings with thefemale anopheles’ mosquito as the transmitter. In the cycle ofinfection and transmission, the mosquito sucks a blood meal from oneperson infected by the disease. In the first case, it takes up theparasite from the infected person. It then stings another personwithin fourteen days where it transmits the disease from the firstinfected person to the other. Below is a chart that explains theinfection cycle:
Theperiod between the first sting and the second one is calledsporogony.This period depends on ambient temperatures of the region. Thebiological period of sporogony is shorter in regions with highambient temperatures compared to those with lower ambienttemperatures. From this, it is true to conclude that the rate oftransmission of malaria is higher in regions with higher ambienttemperatures. If sporogony is lengthened due to low ambienttemperatures, the mosquito is more likely to die before causing aninfection. Enough evidence has been collected to support the factthat the least ambient temperatures to favor the transmission ofmalaria is 18 degrees Celsius.
However,over the past century, transmission of malaria has been shrinking.Research shows that in the past one hundred years, the transmissionof this disease was dominant in temperate, tropical and sub -tropical climatic conditions (Walker,2015).In the present days, the transmission of malaria has shifted itsconcentration to the tropical areas. Further, the areas affected inthese climatic places are countries in the sub- Saharan Africa. Theyaccount for about 92% of deaths caused by this disease. In theseareas, prevalence of this disease is fully associated with theambient temperatures, which is a warm temperature (Walker,2015).The spread of malaria intimately depends on the ecological conditionsof an area. Three major ecological conditions that allow thetransmission of this disease have been identified to be: Ambienttemperatures Precipitation and the species of the mosquito.
AndrewSpielman, one of the greatest entomologists, which is a study ofinsects, at Harvard University was once quoted emphasizing that“malaria is a disease of place” (Walker, 2015). This was laterproven by studies on people who travelled to malaria prone regions,like East Africa nations and South America countries. As noted byWalker (2015), these people contracted this disease after their visitto these areas. Consequently, this is an indication that thetransmission of malaria is highly dependent on the geographicallocation of a person. For example, mosquitoes reside on warm swampyareas for breeding hence, people living near a swamp can easily getinfected with Malaria. It is worth noting that only a femaleanopheles mosquito spread Malaria virus. As added by WHO, the femaleanopheles mosquito normally bite people to get blood that help themto nurture their eggs. Therefore, considering they lay their eggs onwarm swampy regions, people within that vicinity can easily sufferfrom Malaria.
Precipitationhas a very important role to play as far as the infection andtransmission of malaria is concerned. Rainfall provides water, whichwhen carelessly collected it becomes the breeding place formosquitos. If there is a prolonged dry season, the transmission ofmalaria can be reduced. With increased wet conditions in tropical andequatorial regions, there is an increased propensity of mosquitos tobite human beings as opposed to other animals, such as cattle.
HumanBiting Index Theproportion of blood suckled from human beings by female anopheles’mosquitos is known as the HumanBiting Index,HBI. The species of the mosquito becomes a powerful transmitter ofmalaria if the HBI is closer to 1. It has been shown that mosquitosin Africa have a HBI of 1 making them complete human biters. Thismakes the probability of transmitting malaria in this region of theworld almost obvious. In other regions such as Asia, the probabilityof transmission is about a tenth of Africa’s transmissionprobability. Tropical Africa has all the conditions required tosuccessfully transmit this disease. This makes it the world’s worstregion in terms of malaria transmission(Singhet al., 2013).
Malariahas a number of effects to the person infected, the society and theeconomy. This section discusses the effects in terms of the personinfected, the society and the economy. While looking at the personaffected, the discussion will be categorized into pregnant women andchildren since they are the most venerable from Malaria infections asnoted by WHO. The economy shall be looked at in terms of the effectsof this disease on the normal functioning of the economy.
Effectson Pregnant Women
Malariain pregnancy is caused by Plasmodiumfalciparum,which is carried by the female anopheles’ mosquito. Mothers withthis disease in their pregnancy periods pose risks to themselves andthe fetus (Walker,2015).The fetus is faced by the risks of death, prematurity and low birthweight. The mother could die or get complications such as maternalanemia. In Africa, malaria during pregnancy has had effects such asstill births, and prematurity on the unborn infant. The total numberof pregnant women admitted to hospital because of malarial infectionsis recorded to be about 800,000. Of these, about 80% experienceseizures, more than 50% are anemic (Watkin,2013).These two conditions are very critical to the survival of the fetusand the mother. Mothers experiencing seizures during pregnancy limitthe supply of essential requirements of life to the fetus. Theseinclude oxygen, nutrients and removal of metabolic wastes accumulatedby their bodies. If seizures persist, both the mother and the fetusmay be poisoned leading to chronic complications or even death.Additionally, anemia conditions among pregnant women reduce theirblood counts. The feeding habits of the mother are altered wheninfected with malaria. The outcomes for altered eating habits formother are lowbirth weightand mother becoming weaker
Effectson the Economy
Thegovernment invests a lot on its people. For this reason, thegovernment expects huge returns from its healthy population. If thesepeople are instead affected by malaria, it becomes burdened to caterfor their treatment and other provisions, hence affecting a country’seconomy. The situation worsens when this infected person passes on.Apart from the costs encountered after death, the person leaves thecountry with a lot of grief and sometimes very high levels of traumato the rest of a family and the society at large(Singhet al., 2013).
TheWorld Health Organization (WHO) acknowledges the impact of diseasesmore so malaria on the economy. According to Word HealthOrganization, many countries in the sub Saharan region spend a lot ofmoney to make its population free from Malaria. Affiliate unions ofthe World Trade Organization (WTO) on the other hand have it thatmalaria has weakened the performance of workers within this region(Waitzkin,2013).Below is chart that stipulates the amount spend by the nationalgovernments to eradicate malaria:
Manyeconomies both developed and developing have come together to try tosolve this problem which has been seen to be highly financialdraining. In their effort, they yearn to increase the access tomalarial and anti-malarial medicines to the affected economies topromote the development of vaccines and new treatments for malaria.Suffering in third world economies due to malarial infections is anissue whose alleviation must involve global commitments. Thesecommitments are majorly geared towards financing health improvements(Tamboet al., 2012).This is accredited to the fact that most underdeveloped anddeveloping countries in sub Saharan Africa lack the resources andfinances to adequately fund such initiatives. As a result, theeconomies of the countries giving out funds are affected at theexpense of the affected ones. Well industrialized countries haveestablished schemes and initiatives to restructure medical facilitiesin these countries, such as the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB as wellas Malaria (Zarocostas,2010).
Accordingto WHO (2001), when putting forth the measures to be used incontrolling this disease, it is important to approach it in theecological point of view. In epidemiology, the challenge of curbingan infectious disease is summarized using the basic reproductionnumber, (BRN) of the disease. In this method, the number of peoplethat would be infected by one infected person if in a population thatis susceptible but not affected is considered. Putting this principlein mind, if the susceptibility of a population to malaria isdecreased in a significant way, then the rampant spread of thisdisease will be curbed (Tamboet al., 2012).Ecological methods of controlling malaria are geared towards reducingthe number of people bitten by mosquitos. Studies have shown that theextent of controlling malaria is highly dictated by various signs.The physical geography of the area also dictates the ease with whichthese mosquitos are going to be controlled(Singhet al., 2012). Another sign is that the extent to which the area iseconomically developed plays a great role in reducing the number oftimes mosquitos come into contact with people.
Itis therefore viable to conclude that the control of malaria isfavored by various conditions. Temperate climates in whichtemperatures are very low, lowers sporogony leading to a reduction inreproduction and spread of malaria. Furthermore, isolated regionssuch as islands make the control of mosquito population much easier.This is due to the reduction of the risk of reintroducing mosquitosinto these areas. Making places which have been highly affected bymosquitos’ high priority regions by increasing economicproductivity also plays a role in this control since it increases theinvolvement and devotion of human beings and materials in controllingmosquitos.
Solutionsto the Problem of Malaria
Theworks of scientists such as Charles Louis Alphonse Laveran, PatrickManson, Ronald Rose and Giovanni Batista Grassi decoded the lifephases of mosquitos in their complexity (Reyburn,2010).Through their discovery, modern methods of solving the problem ofmalaria have been introduced. Through human behavior, people shouldbe advised to avoid places and days when female anopheles’mosquitos are most active. This can be done through environmentalmethods, which involves doing away with the breeding sites formosquitos. It can also be done through biological methods by the useof predators such as fish and frogs which feed on mosquitos at theirlarval stage. Moreover, patients suffering from malaria should betreated using the most recent medicines(Oliveras-Vergés& Espel-Masferrer, 2008). While curative methods are encouraged,the period of infection in patients should be reduced throughadoption of preventive health care methods. Behavioral methods ofsolving the problem of malaria should be adopted. This involves theuse of bed nets, screen doors and other suitable mechanical barriersbetween mosquitos and human beings. Lastly, governmental policycontrol methods through launching rules and governmental bodies andagencies whose function should majorly be inclined towards malariaeradication issues.
On25thApril 2005, the UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki –moon launched acomprehensive initiative to solve the malarial problem. In thisevent, Ban had the view of achieving 100% malaria controlinitiatives. In these interventions, the United Nations had the planof ensuring that any place in its member countries affected in anyway by malaria was fully acquainted to deal with such situations. Theorganization offered services such as indoor spraying in somelocations and bed nets treated with mosquito repellants. In otherareas, various methods of rapid diagnosis, case management, use ofcommunity health workers to educate the population on various methodsof controlling malaria were used (Isibor,Omokaro, Ahonkha, & Isibor, 2005).The UN made partnerships with other non-governmental organizations tomanufacture effective medicines such as ACTs. Differentglobal organizations have partnered to come up with policies and waysof eradicating malaria. The Roll Back Malaria Partnership which iscurrently described in the Global Malaria Action Plan of RBM is oneof the organizations which has successfully won the battle againstmalarial infections. In its vision, the organization looks intovarious ways of establishing a vaccine for malaria (Choudhury,2007).This body uses modern technology such as LLINs, ACTs, rapiddiagnostic tests and residual indoor sprays. The body has the visionof lowering the transmission of malaria which will lead to low ratesof morbidity, and mortality. The control of malaria requires a lot ofresearch and suitable equipment. In the Global Malaria Action Plan,the basic financial costs and modalities to be used for comprehensivecontrol of malaria was estimated to cost about USD 3 billion yearlyfor countries bin the sub Saharan Africa region. For this reason, itis evident that all affected economies need sufficient funds to curbthe spread of malaria. This can only be achieved if these nations setaside the required finances and set policies to control how thesefinances are going to be spent(Oliveras-Vergés& Espel-Masferrer, 2008). In addition, there should be a thoroughcampaign awareness campaign on method of preventing Malaria, likestaying on well-screened areas at night, use bed-net impregnated withinsecticides, use mosquito repellent and wearing trousers and longsleeve shirts at night and evening. These are less costly measuresthat can greatly assist in eradication of malaria.
Itis clear that malaria is one of the killer diseases in sub-SaharanAfrica, Asia and many other countries in the South American region.Efforts towards curbing the effects of malaria marked a full impactin the year 2008, which was the 60thyear of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. During this time,safety of all human beings from controllable diseases was declared asa human right. This year marked the Alma- Ata Declaration of Healthfor All and the midpoint of the 15 years of the Global MillenniumDevelopment Goals. This marked the start of serious control ofmalaria, which was geared towards total eradication of malaria usingcurative methods, leading to an eventual eradication of malaria aftera vaccine is successfully added to the arsenal. To fully eradicateMalaria, governmental and non- governmental organizations mustpartner to effectively fund the acquisition of resources and therequired workforce for research.
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