3.4 billion people live in areas at risk of malaria transmission in 106 countries and territories (source: CDC). Malaria is a disease that is caused by a plasmodium parasite, which is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. Malaria symptoms usually begin between ten to fifteen days after an individual has been bitten. Additionally, if the individual is not treated properly or consumes counterfeit anti-malarial drugs, the disease can recur months later.
The first few symptoms of malaria are fever, chills, headaches and vomiting. While these symptoms are not necessarily unique to the disease, if you are in an area where mosquitos are prevalent and you have any of these symptoms, please visit your doctor immediately to test for malaria.
Some Facts About Malaria
- Malaria is not contagious from interacting with infected persons
- 207 million clinical cases of malaria were recorded worldwide in 2012. 627,000 cases of those were fatal
- Children are especially at risk: 85% of malaria deaths occur in children under five years of age in Africa
- The malaria disease typically breeds in tropical climates where there is an abundance of rain and humid conditions
- Pregnant women are extremely vulnerable to the disease and can pass it on to their infant, which could result in low birth weight
The Economic Impacts of Malaria on Communities
The Malaria disease impacts communities in obvious and subtle ways: governments, health care facilities, businesses and citizens are all affected by malaria.
Cost to Governments
- Cost of implementing public health interventions and providing educational materials for citizens
- Loss of economic growth due to deaths and illness that can cripple overall productivity
- Reduced tourism for fear of contracting disease
- If applicable, increased cost of providing drugs and other supplies to public hospitals and health care facilities
Cost to Health Care Facilities
- Increased strain on health care facilities staff and resources to accommodate infected patients
- Increased cost of purchasing drugs and other supplies
- Inability to provide quality care to all patients due to reduced resources
Cost to Businesses
- Increased work absenteeism can reduce business growth potential
- Impact on operating costs due to lower productivity
- Increased health care spending
Cost to Community Members
- School and job absenteeism
- Loss of pay and increased strain on financial wellbeing of family
- Increased risk of mortality for infants and mothers
- Cost of burial expenses in the event of fatality
- Out of pocket medical treatment expenses
While malaria can have a negative impact on an entire community, there are dedicated people who are working to combat the issue. With the help of stakeholders and organizations like Malaria no More, we are seeing significant efforts to eradicate the disease.
This year, World Malaria Day falls on the 25th of April 2015 and what better time to strengthen the awareness efforts of malaria control than on this day? Since 2013, the day's theme is "Invest in the future, Defeat malaria." In line with that theme, we are doing our part by offering a tool that helps consumers avoid dangerous, substandard anti-malarial drugs. We help the clients ensure that safe malaria tablets get into the hands of the community members so that we can all remain productive and healthy members of society. However, that is not enough. Through consumer awareness and education efforts, we can help empower people to stop a disease that plagues communities around the world.
To get further educated and to have the opportunity to discuss malaria control efforts and meet with like-minded organizations, join this informative webinar on the 22nd of April 2015 at 10-11am EST. The panelists will be Malaria no More, Sproxil, and Bliss GVS India. Click this link to register.
Let us continue to work together to eradicate malaria and give members of society a chance at living a normal life - a life free from malaria.