Universiteit Stellenbosch
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Malaria; travel medicine
#EndMalaria – a look at the impact of malaria on World Malaria Day
Outeur: Susan Crumpton
Gepubliseer: 25/04/2019

World Malaria Day (WMD) is an international observance commemorated every year on 25 April and recognizes global efforts to control malaria. Globally, 3.3 billion people in 106 countries are at risk of malaria.

Since 2000, malaria-affected countries and their development partners have made remarkable progress in reducing the total number of malaria cases and deaths. But, after more than a decade of steady advances in fighting malaria, progress has levelled off. According to WHO's latest World malaria report, no significant gains were made in reducing malaria cases in the period 2015 to 2017. The estimated number of malaria deaths in 2017, at 435 000, remained virtually unchanged over the previous year.

But the toll of malaria remains unacceptably high. Every two minutes, a child dies of this preventable and treatable disease. And each year, more than 200 million new cases of the disease are reported. In 2017, there were an estimated 219 million cases of malaria in 87 countries.

Africa continues to account for approximately 90% of malaria cases and deaths worldwide. In the 10 African countries hardest hit by malaria (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda and United Republic of Tanzania), there were an estimated 3.5 million more cases of malaria in 2017 over the previous year.

Estimated malaria burden by region in 2017

African200 million403 000
Americas976 000630
Eastern Mediterranean4.4 million8 300
South East Asia11.3 million19 700
Western Pacific1.9 million3 620
WORLD219 million435 000

Source: World malaria report 2018


Gaps in access to core tools

The latest WHO World malaria report highlights major coverage gaps in access to core WHO-recommended tools for preventing, detecting and treating malaria, particularly in the world's highest burden countries.

  • In 2017, half (50%) of the population at risk of malaria in Africa slept under an insecticide-treated net, a similar figure to the previous year and a marginal improvement since 2015.
  • Just over 1 in 5 (22%) eligible pregnant women in Africa received the recommended three or more doses of preventive therapy in 2017, compared with 17% in 2015.
  • Less than half (48%) of children with a fever in Africa were taken to a trained medical provider (2015-2017).


What to do if you are travelling to a malaria area?

Prevention is better than cure, so it is best to try to follow these practical tips:

·        Protect yourself from mosquito bites by sleeping under an insecticide-treated mosquito net.

·        Wear socks, long pants, long-sleeve shirts and blouses.

·        Spray mosquito repellent onto your clothes and the exposed parts of your skin.

·        Make sure the room doors and windows are closed properly and screened with gauze to prevent mosquitoes from getting in.

·        Spray the room with an insecticide before entering.

·        Pregnant women and young children should avoid travelling to malaria-prone areas.

  • Be sure to get the right anti-malarial medicines for the country where you are travelling to

Make an appointment at Campus Health Services and see a Travel Doctor to make sure you are prepared for your travels.

Make an appointment here.