Women health

World Malaria Day

It's World Malaria Day today (WMD). WMD is a day set aside by the World Health Organization (WHO) to raise awareness of the mosquito-borne disease and assess efforts to prevent, treat, control, and eliminate the disease, which caused 602,020 deaths in Africa last year, according to the WHO.

'Harness innovation to lower the malaria disease burden and save lives,' is the subject of WMD 2022. Experts are concerned, however, that despite its efforts to combat malaria, Nigeria loses about $1.1 billion (N645.7 billion) per year in illness prevention and treatment, as well as other costs.

Malaria killed 200,000 Nigerians in 2021, according to experts, and infected 61 million more, according to the experts. They also stated that over half of all malaria deaths occurred in Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), Tanzania, and Mozambique.

Despite the success of the new malaria vaccine, they claim that no single instrument is now available to solve the problem of malaria.

They concluded that controlling and eventually eliminating malaria will necessitate a combination of techniques, including the use of existing control and prevention measures as well as the creation of new instruments.

In order to accelerate progress against malaria, the WHO has urged investments and innovation in new vector control measures, diagnostics, anti-malarial drugs, and other instruments.

Despite steady progress in lowering the global burden of malaria between 2000 and 2015, WHO said that progress has slowed or stalled in recent years, particularly in high-burden countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, and that urgent and concerted action is needed to put the world back on track to meet the global malaria strategy's 2030 targets.

According to the WHO, Africa was home to 95 percent of the estimated 228 million infections last year, with 602,020 deaths documented. It went on to say that six African countries, which are the hardest hit by malaria, are responsible for up to 55 percent of global infections and 50 percent of deaths. This is a decrease from the anticipated 627,000 deaths and 241 million cases in 2020.

In her message to mark this year's World Malaria Day, WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, said the theme aligns with calls to urgently scale up innovation and deployment of new tools in the fight against malaria, while advocating equitable access to malaria prevention and treatment, all while building health systems.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Moeti claims that considerable advances in malaria prevention and control have been made in the past year. "WHO announced landmark recommendations on the use of the first malaria vaccine, RTS,S, late last year.

"This vaccine will be used to prevent malaria in children aged six months to five years who reside in areas where malaria transmission is moderate to high," Moeti explained.

"Four African nations accounted for just over half of all malaria deaths globally," according to the 2016 World Malaria Report: Nigeria (31.9%), Democratic Republic of Congo (13.2%), United Republic of Tanzania (4.1%), and Mozambique (3.8 percent). Malaria was found to be present in 303 incidences per 1,000 people in 2019.

"Nigeria is responsible for roughly 31.9 percent of worldwide malaria mortality, or about 200,000 deaths in 2021. Over 60 million people get infected each year, costing the economy an estimated US$1.1 billion in lost productivity and absenteeism."

The presence of a vaccine, according to a team of Nigerian researchers led by Prof. Boaz Adegboro of Nile University of Nigeria's Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology and Prof. Oladapo Ashiru of Medical ART Centre, Mayland, Lagos, may not be enough to eradicate malaria because the vaccine is only about 39% effective at first dose and efficacy wanes with time.

Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology, College of Health Sciences, Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, and Department of Medical Microbiology, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) Teaching Hospital, Ogbomosho, Oyo State, are also members of the research team.

WHO approved the RTS,S malaria vaccine for young children living in areas with moderate to high malaria transmission in October 2021. The advice was based on the findings of a WHO-coordinated pilot program that has touched over 900,000 children in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi since 2019.

The vaccine is safe, easy to administer, and reduces lethal severe malaria, according to data and experience from the program. RTS,S is an example of workplace innovation as well as a scientific achievement, as it is the first vaccine approved for use against any human parasite illness.

"It is unlikely that malaria will be eliminated without the vaccine," Adegboro said, "because there has not been a significant reduction in morbidity and mortality in recent years, especially in areas where malaria is endemic, despite the preventive and treatment measures that have been in place for years." Although people in endemic areas develop illness immunity as adults, they are not immune to infection, and so the parasite's propagation is unavoidable.

"It's unlikely that malaria will be eradicated without a vaccine," Adegboro said, "since there hasn't been a significant decline in morbidity and mortality in recent years, especially in malaria-endemic areas, despite years of preventive and treatment measures." People in endemic areas develop disease immunity as adults, but they are not immune to infection, allowing the parasite to spread.

Prevention measures for malaria

Malaria prevention now relies on two methods: chemoprophylaxis and mosquito bite protection. Several malaria vaccines are in the works, but none are currently available.


Malaria chemoprophylaxis is exclusively available in Europe for visitors to malaria-endemic countries, who are divided into three (or four) groups to decide which medicine is best for chemoprophylaxis. The medications prescribed are determined by the travel destination, the length of probable vector exposure, parasite resistance patterns, the degree and seasonality of transmission, as well as age and pregnancy. Depending on the endemicity level and seasonality of transmission, chemoprophylaxis may be suggested for autochthonous small children and pregnant women in endemic countries.

How to protect yourself from mosquitoes naturally

Malaria transmission occurs predominantly at night due to the nocturnal feeding habits of most Anopheles mosquitoes. Mosquito bed nets (ideally insecticide-treated nets), long-sleeved clothing, and the use of insect repellent to exposed skin are all effective ways to avoid mosquito bites. The type and concentration of repellents are determined by the individual's age and status.

Mosquito control methods

The effectiveness of vector control strategies is determined by the vector species, mosquito biology, epidemiological context, cost, and population acceptability. The major current measures are centered on reducing mosquito-human interaction, killing larvae through environmental management and the use of larvicides or mosquito larvae predators, and killing adult mosquitos by indoor residual spraying and insecticide-treated bed nets.  





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