Reaching The Zero Malaria Target — by Theresa Utomi

Malaria is one of the most severe public health problem and a leading cause of death in developing countries. It is a life-threatening disease that is caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bite of infected female anopheles mosquitoes. Although this disease is preventable and curable, it has been a major cause of mortality in sub-Saharan Africa especially as children under 5 years are the most vulnerable and account for about 67% of all malaria death worldwide. In 2019, there were about 229 million cases of malaria worldwide and about 40,9000 deaths most of which was recorded in sub-Saharan Africa.

Most malaria cases and death occur in sub-Saharan Africa but other places like South East Asia, Eastern Mediterranean, Western Pacific and the Americas are also at risks due to their climatic and poor living/health conditions. The group most at risk are infants, pregnant women and children especially under 5 years, hence it is imperative to stress the need to fight against malaria and educate people especially within these groups on malaria prevention and hygiene.

Pregnant women living in malaria-prone areas highly vulnerable especially when they are ignorant of preventive measures and hygiene to protect them against contracted diseases like malaria in pregnancy play a major role in global maternal deaths. Unfortunately, the women who are most vulnerable to malaria are often the least protected as they are exposed to various dangers from death, spontaneous abortion, stillbirth to even premature delivery.

Therefore as we celebrate World Malaria Day, there is a need to educate ourselves on various preventive measures against malaria, the WHO, UNDP and other global organization are working hard to make the world malaria-free in which significant success has been recorded but we cannot rest on our oars until we strike out malaria completely and meet our zero malaria target.

Constant use of insecticide-treated mosquitoes nets has proven to protect people from malaria in Africa as 46% of people in Africa were protected in 2019 compared to 2% in 2000, these success rate can only be sustained through mass supply and usage of these nets in malaria-prone areas. Also, indoor residual spraying of insecticides is another effective way of curbing malaria transmission. For significant community protection, this must be done often to ensure reduction in mosquitoes infected population and transmission of malaria.

Meeting the zero target for malaria is an achievable task as some countries have already reached that milestone, 11 countries have been given the WHO Certification of Malaria Elimination which means they are malaria-free, the elimination net is widening and I hope very soon countries in sub-Saharan Africa would reach this milestone. We just need to fight this scourge together with the help of our federal government and support from WHO, UNDP and other health organizations I believe we can also be a malaria-free continent.

By Theresa Paul | ICCDI Volunteer | You can reach her via twitter @Theresapaul268



A leading youth voice on Climate Change which seeks to build a climate-smart generation across Africa while identifying key development issues affecting population across Africa especially in Nigeria through creative dialogues and innovations.

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