25 April 2018 is being celebrated worldwide to focus and enhance efforts to eliminate Malaria, a disease which can be fatal and which affects millions of people, claiming many lives annually all over the globe.This years theme for Malaria day is “Ready to beat malaria” . The theme emphasizes the global malarial community to advance towards the goal of malaria -free world.
Since the modern days of human civilization Malaria has been a life-threatening disease which is due to female mosquitoes Anopheles. Parasitic protozoans are the causative agent of Malaria carried by mosquitoes and hence transmitted to the human body. According to the latest “World Malaria Report”, released in November 2017 by world health organization (WHO), there were 216 million cases of malaria in 2016, up from 211 million cases in 2015. The estimated number of malaria deaths stood at 445 000 in 2016, a similar number to the previous year (446 000) (WHO).
Although malaria is curable and preventable but unfortunately it’s burden on the global health infrastructure is very high.
In malaria children of age 5 or less are mostly susceptible to this infection, the infectious agents are protozoa which invade human blood cells and multiply. According to the WHO under five years children are mostly affected by this parasite.
Malaria is caused by many strains of plasmodium, however in humans it is caused by five species.
Plasmodium ovale curtisi
Plasmodium ovale wallikeri
P. falciparum has been known to be involved in 50 % cases of malaria. According to WHO 2016 report 5.4 billion people are at risk of developing malaria. Similarly in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, the number of malaria cases increased from 3.9 million in 2015 to 4.3 million in 2016 with 8200 DEATHS (WHO).
In Pakistan two major species P. falciparum and P. Vivax are the most frequent species or isolates from malarial patient with 21 and 79 % of infections.
On the occasion of World Malaria Day 2018, Dr Jaouad Mahjour, acting WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, said that, “Although coverage of main interventions in endemic countries is increasing it falls short of universal health coverage targets. Humanitarian emergencies taking place in some countries are decreasing the capacity of malaria programmes and insufficient resources in high-burden countries are among the main challenges.
Malaria is preventable and curable, however actions and resources are required to be taken necessarily and immediately in order to achieve desired targets in its reduction. In order to prevent mesh nets should be used whereas antiparasitic drugs should be taken after malaria is developed. Vaccines development and trials are under process against this disease.
Muhammad Shaheen Iqba is a microbiologist and Journal manager at Life Science Journal of Pakistan, he is also pioneer and blogger at www.microbiology.pk website. He has completed his M.Phil in microbiology.