Invest in the Future, Defeat Malaria

By Ifeyinwa Ugo-Amadi

Malaria is one of the leading causes of death and illness in pregnant women and children under 5 years. Pneumonia and diarrhoea are also causes of death in children. Heightening the risk of infection is malnutrition which is an underlying contributor to all these conditions. These pose as great threats to the future which ought to be preserved and nurtured.
Malaria, a disease that depletes the red blood count, is transmitted by the female anopheles mosquito. Malaria is caused by a protozoan of the genus Plasmodium. The specie most implicated in this disease is Plasmodium falciparum other species such as P. vivax, P. ovale and P.malariae cause a milder form of malaria.
Malaria affects the local economy of any area as it is responsible for decreased productivity, increased employee absenteeism and a labour force weakened by sickness. Malaria costs USD 12 billion per year in direct losses.
Though a very small creature, the female anopheles mosquito transmits this disease that claimed the lives of about 584000 in 2013 – a figure that is more than what the wildest animal would consume in a year. Investing in the future involves implementing strategies that prevent the proliferation and bite of the female anopheles mosquitoes, diagnosis and treatment of malaria. Such strategies involve the use of insecticidal bed nets and insecticides, rapid diagnostic tests and artemisinin based combined therapy.  
 Concerning the future, Patrick Dixon says,
                    ‘Take hold of the future or the future will take hold of you’.
 The future is the time or period of time following the moment after now. Children are the future we see today and they have the right to a healthy and safe future. Unfortunately, this seems to be far-fetched for some children as some still die of preventable diseases before their fifth year birthday.
Investing in the defeat of malaria is investing in communities; it is investing in new ways to tackle the Plasmodium, the vector and disease. It is an investment for the future because health is the bedrock of development of any community. This investment in malaria control is a cost-effective business that offers a rapid rate of return.


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