Aminu Ali Isa, father of child
They were very sick; they both had convulsions.
We had to hold them down while they were getting the medication to reduce the fevers.
It’s not that we are not concerned… it is just normal.
Malaria will kill at least 500,000 children this year. In 2013, a minimum of 250,000,000 people contracted the disease, and almost half of the world’s population was at risk.
Mosquitoes transmit malaria. The only way to avoid getting malaria is to avoid getting bitten. While the illness is easy to diagnose and very inexpensive to cure, the majority of people at risk of contracting malaria have very limited resources. Many can't properly feed their families, much less pay for a doctor or medication.
In 1860, more than half of the United States was endemic. Wealthier countries eradicated malaria decades ago; it is easily preventable and curable when resources are allocated. Today, malaria is a disease of the poor. No longer affecting wealthier nations, it is often not seen as a great global priority. But it is a question of priorities; more money has been spent on preventing baldness than has been dedicated to finding a malaria vaccine.
Recent attention and funding dedicated to malaria control have led to remarkable gains, but the disease still is the leading causes of child mortality in Africa, and the world’s most serious parasitic infection. Costing Africa alone an estimated US$12 billion annually in lost GDP, malaria’s negative impact on economic activities only reinforces poverty, destroying the chances for hundreds of millions of people to achieve better lives.
It is believed that for each documented case of malaria, four to five cases are diagnosed and treated independently of qualified medical personnel. Accessible medical assistance and the availability of affordable quality medication are paramount to facilitate the early diagnosis and effective treatment of malaria.
The lack of proper diagnostic tools and medication also complicates the retention of trained staff. When people can’t do their job properly, morale suffers, and employee retention is compromised. Compounding these issues further is that economic realities often demand health workers to work two or even three different jobs.
Mbawonye, community drug distributor
I have been out of medication since 2007. For over two years we have been promised, but it does not come. I am waiting anxiously.
More research and improved disease surveillance clarifies the complicated relationship between the malaria parasite, mosquitoes and humans. The malaria parasite is a remarkably complex parasite. In order to stop the spread and promote eradication, a myriad of issues need additional investigation. These include: how the parasite thrives in certain environments, how it develops resistance to insecticides and drugs, habits associated with mosquito net usage, and patient treatment. Research is also critical to evaluating new anti-malaria strategies created to replace those that are no longer effective.
Solid research improves resource allocation and the effectiveness of interventions in the field. When research results are applied to public health practice, it provides clear solutions to complicated questions, while clarifying how social and environmental factors affect transmission.
We are in training to catch mosquitoes. In order to capture the mosquito you must expose some skin. When the mosquito comes, it will land on the skin and you direct the aspirator (that’s the device at the end of the tube that is in my mouth) and you suck the mosquito into the aspirator.
Tomorrow we go to the village to collect mosquitoes for the research. One individual should be getting about 200 a night.
We work in three person rotations. I volunteered to do this… I’m excited. This is an important thing to do. People will use this information to better understand how malaria works.
Allen Namawejje does not use a mosquito net. But other members of her family do. Many households, due to extreme poverty, are forced to prioritise who will receive both malaria treatment and preventative devices. Those who receive mosquito nets, food and medication are more likely to survive, and gender and age are often the determining factors when parents make these unfortunate decisions.
I get bitten many times at night. I get sick five times a year, I think. When I get sick, I stay in bed. I am not lying in my bed; this is not my mosquito net. I do not use a mosquito net. We only have one and there’s no place for me.
In developing nations where malaria is endemic, the economic stakes surrounding the sale of fraudulent antimalarials is extremely high, and the personal toll immense. Many have family members who have died because of these fraudulent pills. The WHO estimates that up to 20% of yearly malaria deaths are the result of counterfeit or substandard medication. There are also cases where the criminals who make and deal counterfeits have taken extreme and deadly measures to avoid being brought to justice.
Alhaji Tijjani Nasidi, Director of Pharmacies
It’s not easy; there are constant threats and powerful consequences. Death threats. We are trying to take an innovative approach to enforcement, and some of our initiatives have been successful. I have tried very hard to stop the trade of counterfeit and sub-standard drugs. I know what these fake drugs do; I put my all into this…. My daughter was expecting a baby. She went to the hospital and counterfeits killed her.
Areas of conflict, and former zones of civil unrest, have a higher rate of infection and mortality rates from disease. In fact it is disease, not physical violence, that kills the most people during most prolonged periods of civil unrest, leaving an inescapable legacy of guilt and sorrow. While most of these illnesses are easily preventable and treatable, the volatile nature of conflict zones turns these pathogens deadly. War zones are also a hotbed for the re-emergence of illnesses, such as polio, or new strains of illness. The inability to vaccinate and deliver proper medical treatment only increases the spread of disease.
She was three years old. It was a very sad time, a bad time for the entire family. We are all still deeply affected by her death…
Control of malaria means keeping mosquitoes from biting people. These men spray homes with insecticides. It is an effective but also labour intensive control method.
It has been over 20 years since a new class of insecticide was introduced for public health. The reality is that all public health sector insecticides were initially developed for the agricultural sector, and the emergence of mosquito resistance to insecticides is sometimes a consequence of their use — and abuse — in agriculture. Without monetary incentives it is unlikely that companies will ever aggressively devote substantial funding towards research and development of insecticides intended exclusively for human disease vector control.
Mohammed Abbas, orange gloves
The goal here is to kill mosquitoes and other insects that cause disease.
The gear does make one very hot, but that’s not a problem. And what we do is very well received by the community. But only a few local governments are doing this. I hope this program can be expanded.
It’s really important. Malaria killed a member of my own family.
More than 125 million pregnant women risk contracting malaria each year. Malaria in pregnancy gives rise to complications such as low birth weight, which results in approximately 100,000 infant deaths each year in sub-Saharan Africa.
Pregnancy reduces a woman’s acquired immunity to malaria, making her more vulnerable to the illness. This problem is further exaggerated since mosquitoes have a heightened attraction to pregnant women. Newborn infants, on the other hand, have not yet developed any immunity to malaria and are also extremely vulnerable to mosquitoes. In this way, malaria is a parasite that attacks the very foundations of families and communities.
I had malaria… The people at the clinic said I needed an ultrasound to check something. I am not exactly sure what they are looking for, they need to check something. This is my second child. The first one died from malaria, so I worry a great deal about it all happening again to my child, to me.
Malaria is especially hazardous for young children suffering from malnutrition. Studies have shown that malnutrition retards the production of antibodies needed to fight the disease. A sub-standard diet can impair the development of a child’s immune system.
Poor nutrition is also problematic when taking antimalarial drugs such as artemether-lumefantrine. A diet devoid of fat can inhibit the absorption of this medication, rendering treatment less, or even entirely ineffective.
Maria Namata, aged 6
We are digging up the ground where they plant maize… We eat sweet potatoes and beans, maybe some cassava. It’s good. But sometimes I get so hungry. There’s no food at all. Maybe one meal a day and it’s not that
big. Then I feel very tired all day and I have no energy and I can’t dig or do anything.