Writingto solve a problem: A case study of Malaria
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. Such diseases include Ebola, Zukav, HIV/AIDS and malaria. Third world and warm climate countries have beenrecorded as the most affected areas by these diseases. Malaria is oneof the diseases which has affected people in South America, Africaand Asia. Institutions of health research and economies all over theworld have committed millions of dollars to come up with ways oferadicating this menace. Despite the success made by these entities,no final solution of doing away with this disease has been reached.Malaria continues to weaken labor forces in different economies as aresult of sickness, deaths and a lot of money being used to delivercurative services.
Writingto solve a problem: A case study of Malaria
AndrewSpielman, one of the greatest entomologist at Harvard University wasonce quoted emphasizing that “malaria is a disease of place”(Walker, 2015). This was later proven by studies on people whotravelled to malaria prone regions. The study showed that thesepeople contracted this disease after their visit to these areas(Roen,Glau, Maid, & Roen, 2010).That is, transmission of malaria is highly dependent on thegeographical location of a person. Over the past century,transmission of malaria has been shrinking. Research shows that inthe past one hundred years, the transmission of this disease wasdominant in temperate, tropical and sub – tropical climaticconditions. In the present days, the transmission of malaria hasshifted its concentration to the tropical areas. Further, the areasaffected in these climatic places are countries in the sub- SaharanAfrica. They account for about 92% of deaths caused by this disease.In depth findings about the distribution of malaria and its trendsshow that the range of transmission has been narrowing from thewidest known extent to a narrower band along the equatorial regions.Malaria in humans is a constellation of about four diseases with avery close relationship. In these areas, prevalence of this diseaseis fully associated with the ambient temperatures (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.
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. The period between the first sting andthe second one is called sporogony.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. Precipitation has a very importantrole to play as afar as the infection and transmission of malaria isconcerned. Rainfall provides water which when carelessly collected,becomes the breeding place for mosquitos. If there is a prolonged dryseason, the transmission of malaria can be reduced. With increasedwet conditions in tropical and equatorial regions, there is anincreased propensity of mosquitos to bite human beings as opposed toother animals such as cattle. The proportion of bloodsuckled from human beings by female anopheles’ mosquitos is knownas 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. The economy shall be looked at in terms of the effects ofthis 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. On the other hand, the mother could die or get complicationssuch as maternal anemia. In Africa, malaria during pregnancy has hadeffects such as adverse birth outcomes, still births, and prematurityon the unborn infant. The total number of pregnant women admitted tohospital because of malarial infections is recorded to be about800,000. Of these, about 80% experience seizures, more than 50% areanemic (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. Onthe other hand, anemia conditions among pregnant women reduce theirblood counts. The feeding habits of the mother are altered wheninfected with malaria. As a result, the mother grows weaker leadingto negative effects on both her body and that of the fetus.
Effectson the Society
Thesociety invests a lot on its people. For this reason, it expects hugereturns from its population. If these people are instead affected bymalaria, the society is burdened to cater for their treatment andother provisions. The situation worsens when this infected personpasses on. Apart from the costs encountered after death, the personleaves the society with a lot of grief and sometimes very high levelsof trauma(Singhet al., 2013).
Effectson the economy
TheWorld Health Organization (WHO) acknowledges the impact of diseasesmore so malaria on the economy. According to WHO, many countries inthe sub Saharan region spend a lot of money to make its populationmalaria- free. Affiliate unions of the World Trade Organization (WTO)on the other hand has it that malaria has weakened the performance ofworkers within this region (Waitzkin,2013).
Manyeconomies both developed and developing have come together to solvethis problem which has been seen to be highly financial draining. Intheir effort, they yearn to increase the access to malarial andanti-malarial medicines and deliver enough enticements to theaffected economies to promote the development of vaccines and newtreatments for malaria. Suffering in third world economies due tomalarial infections is an issue whose alleviation must involve globalcommitments. These commitments are majorly geared towards financinghealth 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. One such initiative is the Global Fund to fightAIDS, TB and 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. The economicimportance of the targeted area also determines the amount offinancial resources and workforce devoted to control the spread. 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 makes 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. Activities such as draining of swamps and other favorablebreeding sites and use of chemical larvicides. It can also be donethrough biological methods by the use of predators such as fish andfrogs which feed on mosquitos at their larval stage. Moreover,patients suffering from malaria should be treated using the mostrecent 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).
Malariais one of the killer diseases in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and manyother countries in the South American region. Efforts towards curbingthe effects of malaria marked a full impact in the year 2008 whichwas 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 achieve this,governmental and non- governmental organizations must partner toeffectively fund the acquisition of resources and the requiredworkforce for research.
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