Malaria Awareness

Malaria kills more than one million children every year. Sub Saharan Africa has the most cases of malaria reported in the world. Hospitals and clinics in Africa hold two children per bed and ninety percent are malaria patients. Malaria is caused by a microscopic parasite from mosquitos. This parasite invades red blood cells in the body and causes them to burst. The loss of red blood cells causes severe anemia and can kill a child within hours. The parasite has evolved a resistance to the most recent drugs, and many people cannot afford the updated ones.

Judith Ontiombo has an eighteen month old son and a nine month old grandson. Both are infected with malaria; their symptoms include vomiting,diarrhea, and stomach pain. Judith has already lost two children to malaria. Immediate care for malaria provides a higher chance of survival especially in children. Unfortunately, the nearest clinic to Judith is a two mile walk away. Judith’s son is negative for malaria after he is given a common drug called SP which costs 30 cents to buy in Kenya. Sadly, her grandson is positive for malaria and is given a combination of SP and Chloroquine at the clinic. Judith can barely afford these two medications. Medicines bought in Kenya are proven to be more than 30% counterfeit and do not help the infected at all. Fortunately, adults who survive malaria as children gain a partial immunity and have a much higher chance of living if they contract the disease later in life.

Malaria is the disease of poverty. If an adult contracts malaria, he or she cannot work and provide for their families. The disease keeps people impoverished.  It first started in the 1900s and has been virtually eliminated in America due to insecticides and eliminating swamps for mosquito breeding. Fred Soper is credited with the idea of eradicating all mosquitos in Britain. He used an insecticide called DDT and it was very successful at first. Brazil summoned him to work for their country and shortly after, 55 nations were involved in the Global Malaria Eradication Program in 1948. DDT is a cheap chemical and showed dramatic results by eliminating malaria in almost 40 countries. Unfortunately his campaign was stalled because mosquitos became resistant to DDT. DDT was also found to be harmful to the environment and was later banned in 1972. DDT was never able to reach Africa where malaria was spreading fast; it became the most contracted and deadly disease in the world. More people die of malaria than ever before and is holding back Africa’s development.

A new approach was discovered to prevent mosquitos from biting people at night. Bed nets treated with insecticides were given out to almost 30,000 people in Africa and positive malaria results dropped almost 90%. Many researches feel that bringing DDT back would help Africa a great deal. They say that the only problem with DDT was that farmers were using it to protect their crops in an irresponsible fashion and that it would help African families. Malaria is not only Africa’s burden to bear, it is our responsibility to contribute to drug distribution and prevention tactics. Malaria can be completely eradicated with help from around the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About Brittany Hartwell

Brittany is currently a student at Wichita State University in the Health Administration Program. This is her last year before she ventures out into the eventful healthcare world. This blog will primarily show the latest healthcare topics of our beautiful and ever-changing nation.
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