Wipe out malaria by wiping out worst poverty

Friday, November 8, 2013

FRIDAY is Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Malaria Day, when Sadc health ministers meet in Malawi. The theme is, “Be free of malaria in the Sadc region.” This is a goal that is quite achievable, as members have made great strides in their effort to eliminate malaria.

According to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s) World Malaria Report 2012, globally, about 3.3-billion people were at risk of malaria in 2011. Populations living in sub-Saharan Africa have the highest risk of being infected; about 80% of cases and 90% of deaths occur in Africa; and children under five years of age and pregnant women are most affected.

In Southern Africa, the malaria season typically begins with the summer rains in November and ends in April. In this region, the co-ordination of malaria control efforts between neighbouring states has dramatically reduced the incidence of malaria. For instance, the three-country control programme, jointly implemented and managed by Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland, has reduced the incidence of malaria on the border between South Africa and Mozambique from about 25% in 1998 to less than 2% in 2001. Similarly, in both Swaziland and South Africa, malaria cases and deaths have declined to a record low.

The four frontline countries on the tip of Africa (Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland) are surging forward in their work towards malaria elimination. For this to become a reality, the frontline countries depend on four neighbouring countries (Angola, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe), to up their malaria control efforts. Over the past decade, South Africa, in particular, has made strong progress.

Source: Business Day (link opens in a new window)

Categories
Health Care
Tags
infectious diseases, malaria