Did you know that a child dies from malaria every minute of every day? Shocking facts like these are highlighted as part of the annual World Malaria Day on 25 April 2014.
Malaria is transmitted via a bite from an infected female anopheles mosquito, which then enters the blood stream and the parasites then multiply within the liver. The most common symptoms of malaria are chills, vomiting, fever, aches, fever and diarrhoea. There is no vaccine for malaria at present. And these small but deadly insects can be found across approximately half of the world, making it a very real issue for travellers and residents alike.
Malaria is both preventable and curable, however 627,000 people still die needlessly each year from the disease.
There is good news however; thanks to increased global awareness and education, significant progress has been achieved since a major campaign kicked off in the year 2000. Since then it’s estimated that some 3.3 million people have been saved, with death rates falling by 45%. That said, there are still 207 million cases of the disease every year, with the World Health Organization (WHO) calling for greater education on the steps to take to prevent malaria.
Ninety percent of deaths from malaria occur in Africa and in affected areas; the disease is a major contributor to poverty and a loss in productivity, resulting in a drastically reduced household budget. In fact it’s estimated that malaria costs Africa around 8 million GBP (13.4 million USD) per year in lost productivity.
Charities work tirelessly to raise awareness of preventing malaria. Simple tips such as using nets when sleeping and spraying repellent are all highly effective. Travellers should check in good time whether they will be within a malarial zone and should consult their doctor or pharmacist to obtain anti-malaria tablets.
High profile figures such as David Beckham, Dougie Poynter and Andy Murray have joined the Malaria No More campaign as part of the UK Leadership Council as you can see in the video above. And you too can get involved this World Malaria Day and really make a difference.