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Sunday, November 5, 2006

Malaria

Malaria – a mosquito-borne disease is a serious public health problem in the Philippines. Particularly in Central Luzon which is a Malaria Endemic Region. Children and pregnant women are especially vulnerable, not to mention agricultural workers and families that are hit the hardest during the cropping season.

Facts and Figures

  • Worldwide, Malaria kills at least 1 million people each year, or about 3, 000 a day.

  • Nearly 500 million people suffer from acute malaria each year.

  • Malaria is serious public health problem in over half of the world’s countries, including the Philippines.

  • Population movement, deteriorating sanitation, climatic changes, drugs resistance, failure of health systems and, in some cases, poorly planned development activities, contribute to the spread of malaria.

  • Every second – the time it takes you to say the word malaria, ten children will contact the disease and begin fighting for their lives. Malaria kills a child every 30 seconds, often in combination with other diseases.

  • Up to 700, 000 children, many under five years of age, will die needlessly from malaria this year and with acute disease, a child may die within 24 hours.

  • Children can suffer an average of six malaria bouts each year and in endemic areas, as much as 60 percent of school children’s learning may be impaired.

  • Pregnant women are especially vulnerable to the disease; in endemic areas, women are 4 times more likely to suffer malaria attacks – causing still births or low-weight babies, during pregnancy than at any other time.

  • Nearly 60 percent of miscarriages among women living in endemic areas are due to malaria.

  • The cheapest and safest malaria drug – Chloroquine, is rapidly losing its effectiveness.

  • In some parts of the world, malaria has become resistant to the four leading antimalarial drugs.

  • Malaria hurts poor people the most; in some countries, malaria patients pay 9 times their average daily ware for care.

  • Workers suffering from malaria can be incapacitated for 5 – 20 days.

  • Malaria hits hardest during the rainy season when planting and harvesting takes place and it reduces the income of agricultural laborers.

  • Studies show that malaria-afflicted families are able to harvest only 40 percent of their crops, compared with wealthy families.

  • Moreover, a malaria-stricken family spends an average of over one quarter of its income on malaria treatment, as well as paying preventions costs and suffering loss income.

  • The cost of malaria control and treatment drains many developing countries economies, and malaria-endemic countries are some of the worlds most impoverished.

The key to Effective Malaria Control

  • Community awareness – Families should have the information they need to understand the risks of malaria and take appropriate and timely action.

  • Surveillance and response – Malaria outbreaks are identified with the help of a good surveillance system and health authorities are able to respond effectively on the basis of reliable information.

  • Home as the first hospital – A simple packet of effective drugs available to parents can save children who have malaria.

  • Tailored treatments to those in need – Carefully following the spreads of drug resistance, prescriptions can be changed to ensure that patients are treated with the most appropriate and effective drugs.

  • Widely available health services – Rapid diagnostics facilities and effective case management can save the lives of people who have severe malaria.

Preventive Measure not Corrective!

  • Treated Netting – People at risk of malaria are able to use insecticide-treated mosquito nets.

  • Control of Mosquitoes – Mosquito numbers are reduced by the right mix of control methods for the local situation.

  • Safer Pregnancy – Women are able to take anti-malarial drugs and improve the safety of their pregnancy.

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