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eliminating malaria
For 130 million years, malaria has plagued humans as one of the most dangerous diseases on earth. Malaria is transmitted to humans and mammals through mosquitos that carry the parasite. Many African, Middle Eastern and South American countries are afflicted with malaria; however, due to health and technological advances, there are many organizations now fighting against malaria.

Roll Back Malaria – Partnership to End Malaria

Roll Back Malaria (RBM) has worked for many years to combat the spread of malaria. In 2008, RBM put in action the Global Malaria Action Plan (GMAP) at the 2008 MDG Malaria Summit in New York, which was a movement endorsed by many world leaders. GMAP mapped out a strong advocacy plan in the fight towards eliminating malaria.

Eight years later, in 2016, RBM organized the Action and Investment to Defeat Malaria (AIM) 2016-2030 plan. AIM accompanies the WHO Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016-2030 plan, and both programs demonstrate how lowering and eliminating instances of malaria creates healthier and more successful societies.

The benefits of eradicating malaria was demonstrated in a statement made by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon: “Reaching our 2030 global malaria goals will not only save millions of lives, it will reduce poverty and create healthier, more equitable societies. Ensuring the continued reduction and elimination of malaria will generate benefits for entire economies, businesses, agriculture, education, health systems and households.”

USAID

Since 2000, USAID, who has partnered with the likes of RBM, the World Health Organization Global Malaria Programme and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, has carried out The President’s Malaria Initiative. By 2015, USAID had helped reduce malaria deaths by over 60 percent, saved nearly 7 million lives and guarded against more than 1 billion malaria cases. USAID takes many precautionary measures to help prevent the spread of malaria including:

  • Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) — insecticide is sprayed on walls inside homes and other buildings and kills adult mosquitoes before malaria can be transmitted.
  • Insecticide Treated Mosquito Nets (ITNs) — nets placed over sleeping spaces to repel mosquitoes. The nets automatically kill the bugs that land on the nets, preventing them from biting a human host.
  • Intermittent Preventive Treatment for Pregnant Women (IPTp) — a method that administers the use of antimalarial drugs to pregnant women at their prenatal appointments. This administration protects against maternal anemia and reduces the likelihood of low birth weights and perinatal deaths.
  • Diagnostic Treatment with Lifesaving Drugs — a process that provides diagnostic treatment and testing to guarantee all infected patients receive treatments and therapy.

With USAIDs continuous efforts, the world is well on its way to eliminating malaria.

Together Against Malaria

Together Against Malaria (TAMTAM), a non-profit organization, fights to protect pregnant women and young children from the burden of malaria. TAMTAM works with researchers and policymakers at their offices to increase the usage of insecticide nets.

TAMTAM also distributes free bed nets to underprivileged districts via scientifically and cost-effective methods. The nets are given to health clinics to provide easy-access to everyone living in vulnerable situations, and helps protect pregnant women and children otherwise defenseless against malaria.

Against Malaria Foundation

The Against Malaria Foundation, another organization that helps to distribute insecticide nets, raises money through different organizations and events held each year to raise funds for net distribution. Their specific nets, called LLINs, are long-lasting, so as to ensure that people in these communities stay safe for longer periods of time without having to change out their nets.

The foundation’s charitable efforts include events such as the Speedo Swim Around the World, an event open to anyone, anywhere to help raise funds for the nets. There’s also the Speedo Elite Athletes 2010, which engaged the likes of celebrity swimmers such as Michael Phelps and Natalie Coughlin in addition to the group, Japan Swimming.

PATH

PATH is an organization working to eliminate malaria through scientific methods and advancements. The company’s preventive methods include vaccines, drugs, diagnostics, devices and system and service innovations. PATH is speeding up access to effective, affordable and more sensitive malaria diagnostic tools, while also ensuring a stable supply of antimalarial drugs.

PATH’s Center for Malaria Control and Elimination aids in vaccine distribution and diagnostics, and its main goal is to eradicate malaria altogether.

With technological and scientific advancements, eliminating malaria once and for all is a definite possibility for the future. By protecting health, these organizations are doing a world of good by fighting malaria and using the best measures possible to ensure that this debilitating disease does not spread any more.

– Rebecca Lee
Photo: Flickr

India on the Verge of Eliminating Malaria
The population of India is over 1.2 billion. It is only second behind China in terms of population, but has some of the poorest living conditions of any country of the world. Open sewages are the perfect breeding ground for malaria carrying mosquitos throughout the country.

The center for disease control reports that malaria is located in all areas throughout the country including major metropolitan cities such as Mumbai and Delhi. According to the World Health Organization, 95 percent of the Indian population live in malaria endemic areas, and 75 percent of all cases of Malaria in South East Asia are reported in India.

Yet, despite the odds, India has been pushing to end malaria, and may be very close to realizing that goal.

According to WHO, India had over 883,00 cases of malaria in 2013. The number was 2 million in the previous years, thus halving the numbers that were recorded throughout the early 2000s. And that trend is continuing.

The Indian National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) has been leading the charge and have been utilizing efficient and successful tactics to combat the spread of malaria. The first and foremost is early case detection and prompt treatment.

Dr. A C Dhariwal, the Director of the NVBDCP, said how, “Through rapid diagnostic tests, artemisinin-based combination therapy, long lasting insecticidal nets and indoor residual spraying, we’ve been able to bring down the rates of malaria and reduce the number of deaths.”

The program also has four phases to end malaria: control, pre-elimination, elimination and prevention of reintroduction. Both treatment strategy and the phase strategy are results of the NVBDCP implementing all the tools the World Health Organization recommended to India to fight malaria.

The country is currently on phase two of pre-elimination and is targeting rural villages and communities where the population is at least 1000 citizens. In order to complete this phase, India has to achieve an annual parasite incident (AP) of less than 1 per 1000 in all districts within all states. Currently India is at 74 percent and steadily climbing.

Many of the people who are carrying out the effort are women. The Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has deployed more than 900,000 female volunteers throughout the country. These women are chosen from their local communities and are trained in administrating early detection and treatment protocols.

If all goes well, India plans to reach the elimination phase by 2017 and completely eradicate malaria by 2030. This would be right on track with world goals of reducing malaria by 90 percent the same year globally. Experts say that to reach the target, all countries must contribute a total of $100 billion to organizations fighting malaria. Key contributors include WHO, the United States, the United Kingdom and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The United States should allocate more aid towards aiding India fight Malaria. India is an ally and a strong economic partner to the U.S. A healthy India means more opportunities for U.S. goods to reach the world’s largest middle class population. That sounds like a healthy investment.

Adnan Khalid

Sources: Center for Disease Control, National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, United Nations, WHO 1, WHO 2
Photo: Columbia University Medical Center