PUBLIC HEALTH IMPACT ON THE CONTROL OF MALARIA IN SUB - SAHARAN AFRICA The prevalence of malaria in sub Saharan Africa remains the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the continent. The epidemic possesses a major threat to the economic development and public health. The Sub-Saharan Africa as a geographical term refers to the area of the continent of Africa that lies south of the Sahara, majority of the countries lie along the tropics thus allowing a favourable climatic condition for the survival and reproduction of the vector of this killer disease. The pandemic outbreak of malaria several decades ago, before the advent of the Millennium development goals (MDGs), claimed so much lives in Africa. This was greatly influenced by poverty, poor education, lack of health care facilities, and poor access to the few available. This posed a major hindrance to the development and productivity of the continent. Following an era of neglect, the imperative need to control the rising epidemic is now of top priority to the international health community. Combating malaria will help in the achievement of three of the MDGs. (1. combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases, 2. reducing child mortality rates, 3. eradicating extreme poverty and hunger). In accordance to the Almata declaration and the Bangkok charter, control of malaria is now a major political agenda of most of the world’s wealthiest countries. HISTORICAL SUMMARY`
Malaria has been a major transmittable disease that has tormented the whole world but with more long-lasting prevalence in Africa. Early in the 19th century, 90% of the world’s population were at risk of malaria, during the half of the 19th century, a drastic reduction in the prevalence and incidence of malaria was seen in large populace of northern and central Europe, and North America. This was associated with improvement in Agricultural land use and housing. At the latter end of the 19th century, the plasmodium parasite, its vector anopheles mosquito, and its mode of transmission were discovered, so much research and resources were put in place to control and eliminate this killer disease. In the early 20th century, countries in Western Europe had virtually eradicated malaria by the means of DDT insecticide vector killer, effective diagnosis and treatment available and accessible to the general public. (Wernsdofer, 1980). In 1955, WHO set up the Global Malaria Eradication Programme, this was targeted at stopping transmission in all endemic areas outside tropical Africa where the intensities of transmission were thought to be low to moderate (WHO 1956). However, this was a great miss interpretation of the available data as surveillance and access to the few healthcare system was very poor in Africa at this time (Guerin et al, 2002).Presently 50% of the global population leave in malaria free locations compared with 30% in 1950 (Hay et al 2004; Feachem et al, 2010). Malaria is particularly severe in sub-Saharan Africa which has similar climatic conditions as the above tropical countries. Lessons learnt from successful programmes are well documented and are important as the international community once again focuses on minimizing the incidence and prevalence of malaria in sub Saharan Africa. (WHO, 2008) PARASITOLOGY
Malaria is caused by bites of infected Anopheles mosquitoes, called "malaria vectors"; they tend to flourish in very warm and moist weather condition. The magnitude of malaria vectors in sub Saharan Africa is influenced by its characteristic favourable conditions such as its: geographical location, vegetation, and Agriculture. Geographical location on the globe, many of the countries are located within the tropics (28 degrees north or south of the equator), these regions are characterised by high average temperature and a significant amount of rainfall, therefore making it very favourable for mosquitos to breed. Vegetation, a vast area of the region is made up of thickly...
References: needed 2012). All these non-human factors contribute greatly to the survival and thriving of mosquito and a corresponding rise in the prevalence of morbidity and mortality of malaria in sub Saharan Africa.
Adapted from Malaria: progress, perils, and prospects for eradication. Designed by (Mikolajczak et al., 2006).
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