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What’s the best way to fight malaria?

April 27, 2009

Nine out ten of malaria deaths occur in Africa – that’s nearly 1 million fatalities a year. The World Health Organisation estimates the financial loss to Africa because of malaria at 12 billion dollars a year.******And yet it’s an illness that’s preventable: the cheapest and easiest method is to stay under a mosquito net during the night.******In South Sudan, a mosquito net costs around $2, still too expensive for many here, where income per capita is just 25 cents per day. So the government and private charities have launched a campaign to distribute 75 million dollars’ worth of nets to 6 million people in the south before the rains start in July. With only 14 km of paved roads in the entire region, it won’t be easy.************With most fatalities occurring in children under 5, many in Africa are pinning their hopes on an infant malaria vaccine that is due to enter the final phase of human trials. They’ll be launched in Gabon and will ultimately involve 16,000 children in seven countries.******Human trials in 2007 and 2008 showed the vaccine to be as safe as other infant vaccines reviewed by the World Health Organisation. It was shown to prevent malaria in 50-55 percent of cases. That’s better than nothing, says Dr. Joe Cohen from the London-based pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, who invented the vaccine: “Fifty-five percent efficacy against such a disease means hundreds of lives saved every year,” he told Reuters Africa Journal.******The vaccine’s cost has been shared by GlaxoSmithKline and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded Malaria Vaccine Initiative, so that once it’s ready, it can be distributed to communities that need it free of charge. But even if all goes well and the vaccine is approved, it will still be three more years before it’s on the market.******In the meantime, Zanzibar has taken a different approach. In five years, they’ve managed to reduce malaria rates from 50-60 percent to just 1 percent. They’ve done it by distributing bed-nets every few years, spraying homes against mosquitoes, and treating any malaria cases using the best medicine currently available, Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy, or ACT.******There’s a downside though. Thousands of people travel between Zanzibar and mainland Tanzania every day, so even if malaria was eliminated from the islands, it could come back — and cause an epidemic when it does.******Abdullah Ali manages the Zanzibar Malaria Control Programme and explains why they’re worried. “Because the disease burden is just too low, and because the population is not very much exposed to mosquito bites, the chances of immunity reduction is very high,” Ali says. “There are people that have not had a malaria attack for the last four years. So if we continue this trend, the body immunity reduced and the chances of a malaria epidemic is very high.”******Do you think that Zanzibar is right to try and eliminate — or at least significantly reduce — malaria, in spite of the risk of an epidemic? What should African countries and the international community to do fight malaria and reduce the burden it places on African economies?

Comments

Malaria can be effectively controlled if the breeding sites of mosquito is controlled in addition to the distribution of bed nets.This can be done by the establishment of an underground air tight fermentation chamber whereto all community surface water drains into. This approach of denying exposed reproduction site for mosquito to control malaria can be likened to taking the warfare to disable the ammunition depot of the enemy.Interested people can contact for detailed technical recommendations.

Posted by Alemayehu Negash | Report as abusive
 

I am very interested in what Mr. Negash has to say. I would like to understand his methods. Where can I contact him?

 

One of the best way to eradicate Malaria is by educating the public.Currently, VPWA (Volunteer Partnership for West Africa) is running a campaign Kick Malaria Out (KMO) 2009 West Africa. Campaign KMO outreach will run for two weeks by the combined volunteers as part of a month long KMO campaign by VPWA and it grass root partners through out the following countries: Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, & Liberia.Campaign KMO will start in Ghana with Volunteers from all over the world, including professionals from all fields, students etc. Volunteers will receive a training, conducted by VPWA’s Executive Director, to facilitate cultural understanding and to teach Volunteers how to address each community i.e. community customs, habits, etc. Volunteers will then be divided into two groups (Volunteer Group A & Group B). A Volunteer Team Leader will be assigned for each group of volunteers.Between 20th August 2009 and September 3rd 2009, Volunteer Group A will travel to the countries east of Ghana i.e. Togo, Benin and Nigeria. Volunteer Group B will travel to the countries West of Ghana i.e. Ivory Coast and Liberia. VPWA partner organizations in these countries, will be awaiting the arrival of VPWA volunteer groups to facilitate any community needs. Each group will:Conduct community workshops on Malaria by disseminating people-friendly statistical information on the spread of Malaria and providing preventative measures to prevent being infected by the diseaseConduct clean-up training exercises designed to show communities how to prevent and clear water stagnation which is the breeding source of mosquitoes and caused by a) uneven floor b) clogged drains c) poor gradient of gutters and drains. e) rain accumulation f)overflows g)leakages from pipes h)roof gutters chocked with leaves or silt i)misalignment of rainwater downpipes with elbow joint, resulting in blockages. j) Collected water in discarded receptacles.For more information please visit http://www.vpwa.org/kick-malaria-out-200 9-campaignPhone: 233243340112Email: kmo2 009@vpwa.org

Posted by Gabrielle Anne Santa Cruz | Report as abusive
 

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