May 23, 2022

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North West Department of Health marks the World Malaria Day Featured

World Malaria Day is observed every year on the 25 April to raise awareness to the global fight against malaria and recognise the existence of malaria across the globe.

Malaria is transmitted through the bite of female Anopheles mosquitoes that are infected by the plasmodium parasite. And when a mosquito bites a human, a parasite is released into the bloodstream causing malaria.

Malaria is a preventable and treatable disease thought it continues to have a devastating impact on the health and livelihood of people around the world.

Symptoms of malaria includes fever and flu-like illness, shaking chills, headache, muscle aches, and tiredness. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea may also occur. Malaria may cause anemia and jaundice (yellow colouring of the skin and eyes) because of the loss of red blood cells. If not promptly treated, the infection can become severe

According to World Health Organization (WHO) despite it being a treatable disease, Malaria continues to impact the livelihood of people across the globe. In 2020, around 241 million new cases of malaria have been recorded and 627,000 malaria-related fatalities in 85 nations, not only this but in the African region, over two-thirds of the fatalities were reported among children below five years old.

In October 2021, WHO recommended the broad use of the RTS,S malaria vaccine for young children living in areas with moderate and high malaria transmission. The recommendation was informed by results from an ongoing WHO-coordinated pilot programme in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi that has reached more than 900 000 children since 2019.

Evidence and experience from the programme has shown that the vaccine is safe, feasible to deliver and reduces deadly severe malaria. RTS,S is an example of innovation at work and a scientific breakthrough as it is the first vaccine recommended for use against a human parasitic disease of any kind.

In 2021, the WHO also hailed South Africa for bucking a grim trend. It was one of the few malaria-endemic countries in Africa that did not see a major upsurge in malaria cases caused by COVID-related disruptions.

According to the NICD (National Institute of Communicable Disease) for the second time in a decade, South Africa is set to miss its malaria elimination target. The country had committed to ending malaria by 2018, but this did not happen. In 2019, the government set a goal to end malaria by 2023. Despite implementing a number of new interventions which have reduced the country’s malaria burden, South Africa failed to halt the transmission of malaria within its borders.

The country’s malaria case numbers have also started rising since travel restrictions were lifted in early 2022. This comes after much lower malaria cases during 2020 and 2021 – a result of reduced cross-border movements because of COVID regulations, as well as proactive, innovative actions by some South African provinces’ malaria control programmes.

It is crucial that South Africa’s malaria control programme regroups and refocuses. This will enable the country to get its malaria elimination efforts back on track. 

 

For Media enquiries:

Tebogo Lekgethwane,

Departmental Spokesperson

0674227763

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Issued by

North West Department of Health

END.

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