In 2015, there were 214 million cases and 438 000 deaths caused by one of the most preventable diseases on Earth – Malaria.
Despite the illness’ easily preventable damage, this mosquito-bourne illness still puts 3.2 billion – almost half of the world population – at risk.
On World Malaria Day 2016, however, the United Nation pledged to work to reduce malaria deaths by 90% in 2030, by distributing medication to the 97 countries which had on-going malaria transmission in 2015.
The global malaria mortality rate was reduced by 60% between 2000 and 2015, and an estimated 6.2 million lives were saved as a result of a scale-up of malaria interventions.
According to the Department of Health, about 80% of the 600 000 malaria deaths in Africa occur in sub-Saharan Africa. And while malaria cases in South Africa decreased between 1999 and 2014, the South African Medical Journal noted last year that “the past two seasons have seen increases in both local and imported cases”.
Take a look at some of the most chilling malaria statistics:
South Africans have long known that travellers to and residents of Limpopo, Mpumalanga and northern KwaZulu-Natal are at risk of contracting malaria. But travellers to Southeast Asia should also be concerned about drug-resistant malaria in countries like Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia.
Mosquito bourne diseases aren’t only limited to malaria, however.
The Zika virus outbreak in South America and Yellow Fever crisis spreading from Angola serve as reminders of the deadly mosquitoes.
Prevention is the most important way to protect yourself against these illnesses. The most effective way to prevent malaria, Zika or Yellow Fever is to use vector control tools that protect people from being bitten by parasite-infected mosquitos.
UNITAID, a global health initiative financed greatly by a solidarity levy on airline tickets, says it is currently funding an intervention that aims to provide up to 30 million seasonal malaria chemo-prevention (SMC) treatments annually to 10 million children under-five years of age across the Sahel region of Africa.
Another tool individual should use, says UNITAID, is Indoor Residual spraying (IRS). This means treating the inside walls of dwellings with insecticides kills mosquitoes before they bite. With frequent exposure, however, mosquitoes can become resistant to the insecticides used for IRS.
A new product recently developed by the Johns Hopkins University uses “culturally appropriate fashion accessories to emit a long-acting mosquito repellant”. The Vital Protection product is an effective insect repellent for use on fabrics.
Vital Protection from HHL Technology is a long acting insect repellent and one application lasts for 3 months or 30 washes. It is odourless, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and non-irritant, and is a ‘vital’ step in preventing malaria transmission. It is also SABS tested and registered with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.