Malaria is the leading cause of death for children under five, accounting for about two-thirds of all deaths. According to UNICEF, malaria kills one child every 30 seconds in Africa, an estimation of about 3000 children every day.
After more than a decade of steady advances in fighting malaria across the globe, progress has leveled off. Though according to the World Health Organization’s latest World Malaria Report, there were no significant gains 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.
The world marked Malaria Day on the 25th April 2019 with the theme ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me’, a grassroots campaign that aims to keep malaria high on the political agenda, mobilize additional resources, and empower communities to take ownership of malaria prevention and care.
Mosquitos kill more people in a day than sharks do in a year. World Health Organization (WHO) says that between 1916 and 2016, a period of 100 years, sharks killed 1,035 people, but mosquitoes killed 1,470 people in just one day in 2016. The following year, there was an estimated 219 million cases of malaria worldwide, with 92 percent of these being from just Africa alone.
The WHO states that four African countries accounted for nearly half of all malaria cases worldwide: Nigeria (25 percent), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (11 percent), Mozambique (5 percent) and Uganda (4 percent).
WHO further states that an estimated 552 million ITNs were distributed globally, with most (459 million or 83 percent) being delivered in sub-Saharan Africa over the period 2015–2017. While RTDs became the most used method to test for malaria diagnosis among suspected malaria patients in health facilities.
However, with all these measures in place and more than a decade of steady advances in fighting malaria a lot more still needs to be done. The WHO says that no significant gains were made in reducing malaria cases in the period of 2015 to 2017.
Kenya has not been left behind as far as fighting Malaria is concerned and Malaria prevalence is reported to have reduced by 11 percent, this is from 63 cases per every 1,000 persons in 2010 to 42 in 2017. The main challenge in fighting malaria is a shortage of funds which tends to be one of the reasons Kenya risks to lose the gains made in the fight against malaria.
On World Malaria Day 2019, the government disclosed that it will spend a total of 62 billion shillings to fight malaria over five years in the eight worst-affected counties of Baringo, Busia, Kisumu, Laikipia, Migori, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Siaya. On top of these, the USAID promised to give an additional 3.5 billion shillings.
The world’s first malaria vaccine for small children has also been successfully piloted in Malawi and will also be piloted in Kenya and Ghana. It requires four doses and is 4 percent effective against most cases, 30 percent against the most severe cases.