World Malaria Day is on the 25th April and The Butterfly Tree is helping to promote malaria awareness and appealing to everyone to donate just £1 ($1.50) to buy a malaria testing kit, which could save a child’s life. According to the World Health Organization half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria, and an estimated 247 million cases led to nearly 881,000 deaths in 2006. The World malaria report 2008 describes the global distribution of cases and deaths from malaria, how WHO-recommended control strategies have been adopted and implemented in malaria endemic countries, sources of funding for malaria control, and recent evidence that Malaria prevention and treatment can alleviate the burden of disease.
Africa malaria: A baby recovering from Malaria at Mukuni Health Centre
Zambia has a population of less than 12 million people and yet there were 4.7 million cases of malaria reported in 2006. Malaria in Africa is the biggest killer and 75% of people worldwide who die as a result of malaria are children under the age of five mostly in sub-Sahara Africa. The latest report from WHO announced today states that Zambia has achieved a major reduction in malaria mortality by 66% and will be promoted for other countries to follow.
While there are four types of parasites that can cause malaria in humans, Plasmodium falciparum is by far the most deadly and common, particularly in Zambia. Once a person is bitten by a P. falciparum-carrying mosquito, the parasite grows, multiplies, and undergoes a series of complex life cycle changes that allow it to evade the immune system and infect the liver and red blood cells. Malaria disease caused by P. falciparum may result in death within hours or a few days of infection especially in those with low immunity such as children, pregnant women, people with AIDS (not necessarily HIV carriers), and travelers from areas with little or no malaria. Malaria can also result in miscarriage in pregnant women, low birth-weight infants, developmental disabilities, and other complications.
Africa Malaria Prevention
Team preparing to spray every mud hut in Mukuni – October 2008
The Zambian government has a strategy in place to control malaria and aimed to ensure that at least 80% sleep under Insecticide-treated nets by the end of 2008. They are doing a tremendous job but working in African remote villages I often learn that at least three children have to fit under one net. The other problem is that there are never enough testing kits, early diagnosis is crucial, each time I visit Mukuni Health Centre their supply has depleted. The Butterfly Tree raises awareness and funds to assist this vital progam by providing malaria testing kits and mosquito nets. Saga Charitable Trust have given generously to our efforts. World Malaria Day is April 25th please donate a £1 and save someone’s life and help the Africa Malaria prevention and treatment efforts.