World Malaria Day - Compassion International

World Malaria Day
Nearly half of the world's population is at risk of malaria, and 70 percent of all malaria deaths are to children under 5.1
World Malaria Day: A Global Effort to Control Malaria

World Malaria Day is held annually on April 25. It is an international day to share information and educate world governments, local communities and at-risk people about malaria and the global effort to control it.

The World Health Organization established World Malaria Day in 2007 and built upon the malaria awareness and control efforts begun by the 2000 African Summit on Malaria, which first established April 25 as Africa Malaria Day.

The globally-recognized malaria day focuses the world’s attention on a disease that is 100 percent preventable and treatable but which still claims hundreds of thousands of lives a year.

World Malaria Day is just one of several global health campaigns marked by the World Health Organization (WHO). In addition to World Immunization Week in April and World Antibiotic Awareness Week in November, the other WHO campaigns are:

  • World Tuberculosis Day (March 24)
  • World Health Day (April 7)
  • World No Tobacco Day (May 31)
  • World Blood Donor Day (June 14)
  • World Hepatitis Day (July 28)
  • World AIDS Day (December 1)

World Malaria Day is observed in different ways around the world. In Nigeria, the day has been marked by the distribution of antimalarial drugs and bed nets. Seminars have been delivered on annual eradication progress alongside demonstrations of best practices for infection prevention. In India, the coastal city of Mangaluru committed itself to addressing open water sources viable for mosquito breeding. In the United States, the day has been recognized in presidential speeches and strategic plans to fight the disease.

What is Malaria?

Malaria is a preventable and treatable disease caused by a one-celled parasite called a Plasmodium.

There are four types of plasmodium that cause human malaria and all are transmitted to people through the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito. Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax are the most prevalent malaria parasites. P. falciparum is responsible for most of the world’s malaria deaths and is the most prevalent malaria parasite in Africa. P. vivax is the most dominant malaria parasite outside of sub-Saharan Africa.

The regions of SubSaharan Africa, Asia, and Latin America experience the majority of malaria cases. These tropical regions experience high temperatures and humidity along with rainfall patterns that help create stagnant bodies of water. These are ideal conditions for continuous cycle of mosquito breeding and the spread of the malaria parasites carried by the bugs.

When a mosquito carrying a malaria parasite bites an uninfected person, the parasites in the mosquito’s saliva pass into the bitten person’s bloodstream and rapidly multiply in the liver and then start infecting red blood cells.

The first symptoms of a malaria infection usually include fever, headache, joint aches, chills and vomiting. They appear within one to two weeks of being bitten. Without effective medical treatment, dead blood cells clog the capillaries of an infected person, preventing blood from reaching the brain and other vital organs. This can lead to coma, permanent learning disabilities and death.

Treating Malaria

Antimalarial medications have been available for years to treat those infected with the disease. Traditionally, those with malaria who are properly treated can expect a full recovery. But over time, the antimalarial drugs have become less effective as parasites have developed resistance to the medications.

Miseducation and lack of access to laboratory diagnostic tests or rapid diagnostic tests have resulted in simple fevers being viewed as an adequate symptom to begin malaria drug treatment. This wastes drug resources and contributes to the problem of drug resistance, which undermines treatment efforts and negates the usefulness of most medicines.

In recent years, there has been a growing market of counterfeit drugs in several Asian countries, further lessening confidence in antimalarial medications. The availability of cheap counterfeit drugs exploits those desperate for treatment and often leads to avoidable deaths.

Vaccines against malaria have only recently been developed and approved by regulators. The injectable vaccine, RTS,S, also known as Mosquirix, is designed to provide partial protection against malaria in young children. The most likely application will be as a complementary malaria control tool to complement additional preventative measures. However, the vaccination is still undergoing intensive pilot trials in select countries to ensure safety and effectiveness before any mass vaccination initiative is undertaken.

Ending the Malaria Epidemic

Malaria is a global emergency. Nearly half of the world’s population is at risk. There are regularly over 200 million cases of malaria across 90 countries every year, and over 400,000 of these people die from the disease annually.1

Malaria disproportionately affects people living in the low-income countries. While many adults can build up partial immunity to the disease over years of exposure, children exposed to malaria for the first time are most likely to suffer the worst effects of the disease. Children who are living in poverty are the most vulnerable. Their families do not have the money to afford treatment for infections or the resources for prevention.

Malaria is a major killer of children under five years old, taking the life of a child every two minutes.1

The successful elimination of malaria is linked to the successful elimination of poverty, hunger, inequality and inequity.

  • Reducing malaria protects a family from lost earnings and the costs of seeking care. People who aren’t suffering from malaria can work more consistently and be more productive.2
  • Lowering the burden of malaria makes a substantial contribution to improvements in child health, and thus often to a decline in fertility rates.2 Plus, a well-nourished person is better able to fight a malaria infection.
  • Reducing malaria enables children to attend school regularly, which significantly improves their school performance and future wage-earning capacity.2
  • Freeing women and school-age girls from the burden of caring for family members when the family members fall sick with malaria increases the likelihood the women and girls complete school, enter and remain in the workforce and participate in public decision-making.2
  • Draining standing water leads to decreased mosquito breeding and a reduction in malaria transmission. It also improves water quality, generating further health benefits.2
  • Reducing malaria creates a healthier, more productive workforce, which can help attract trade and commerce to drive job creation, inclusive growth and shared prosperity.2
  • Access to affordable energy means greater access to electric lighting and cooling, enabling people to increase time spent indoors, where vectors, organisms that transmit a disease or parasite from one animal or plant to another, are more easily controlled through insecticides, bet nets and temperature.2

To address the wide range of issues and challenges associated with eradicating all aspects of global poverty, including malaria, the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 2030 Agenda replaced and builds upon the successful Millennium Development Goals.

Within the Agenda's 17 "Global Goals" are 169 broad targets. Target three associated with the goal three — "ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages" — is the end of the malaria epidemic, which the World Health Organization (WHO) interprets to be a 90 percent reduction of global malaria incidence and mortality.3

World Health Organization Themes for World Malaria Day
  • 2018: Ready to Beat Malaria
  • 2016 - 2017: End Malaria For Good
  • 2013 - 2015: Invest in the Future: Defeat Malaria
  • 2012: Sustain Gains, Save Lives: Invest in Malaria
  • 2011: Achieving Progress and Impact
  • 2009 - 2010: Counting Malaria Out
  • 2008: Malaria: A Disease Without Borders

WHERE DOES YOUR MONEY GO?
 
 
 
 
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Famous Quotes About Malaria

"For Africa to move forward, you've really got to get rid of malaria."
  — Bill Gates, Business magnate

"It is now widely recognized that any attempt at malaria eradication must be a long-term commitment that involves multiple interventions, disciplines, strategies and organizations."
  — Anthony Fauci, Immunologist

"I travel the world . . . and sometimes the disconnect I see is truly striking: people can get cold Coca Cola, but far too infrequently malaria drugs; most own mobile phones, but don't have equal access to pre-natal care"
  — Mandy Moore, actress

"Malaria eradication requires a 100% mind-set of success. There are no 70% or 80% or 90% efforts that pass in malaria control and eradication. One single infected mosquito that escapes can go on to bring death to dozens of victims in its lifespan, lay more eggs and restart an outbreak that progresses from a few to dozens to hundreds."
  — T.K. Naliaka, author

World Malaria Day Photos

A boy peeks his head out from underneath a bed net

A girl sits underneath a mosquito net and lifts up the edge

A woman and child sit on a bed draped with a malaria bed net

A mother and child lie on a bed draped with a malaria bed net

World Malaria Day Prayers

Lord, you are a god of hope and healing. We ask that you protect your children from the suffering of malaria. Please provide for the needs of those who have the disease, and bless our efforts to combat it. Thank you for being ever-present in the midst of sickness, fear and sorrow. We are grateful. Amen.


  • Pray for those who grieve the loss of a family member or friend from malaria. May the Lord surround them with love.
  • Pray for those currently suffering from painful effects of the disease. May they receive the treatment they need.
  • Pray that governments, health care providers and non-governmental organizations work together effectively to successfully end the threat of malaria.
  • Praise the Lord that significant progress has been made in the fight to eradicate malaria. Ten countries that had malaria in 2000 are now malaria free, and malaria mortality rates have dropped nearly 30 percent since 2010.

Psalm 103:2-4 (NASB)

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; who pardons all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases; who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with loving kindness and compassion.

 

The Cornerstone of Malaria Prevention

 

One of the most effective methods for preventing malaria is to use an insecticide-treated bed net. Bed nets, also referred to as malaria nets or mosquito nets, are the cornerstone of malaria prevention efforts. They are a cost-effective solution that has proven to stop malaria transmission. While a net itself is not a perfect barrier against mosquitoes, nets are often treated with insecticide designed to kill the mosquito before it is able to find a way past the net. When the use of insecticide-treated bed nets is sufficiently high in an area, population-wide protection from mosquitoes and the parasites they carry can result.

Many malaria transmissions occur indoors at night when a person is sleeping in bed. Insecticide-treated bed nets offer 70 percent more protection over sleeping without a net and are twice as effective as using an untreated net.4 Even in areas where mosquitoes have developed a resistance to insecticides, the number of malaria cases are greatly reduced by the use of bed nets.

The widespread distribution of malaria nets has been the most significant contributor to the decrease in malaria cases worldwide. According to UNICEF, the number of malaria cases during that time dropped by 37 percent and deaths from malaria dropped by 60 percent.

Providing mosquito nets free of charge is the best way to ensure that entire communities are protected from the spread of malaria. When all individuals are protected, the spread of disease decreases dramatically. The World Health Organization has set the protection standard of one mosquito net for every two persons as an acceptable ratio. Yet today, the majority of households remain under-equipped when held to this standard. More nets are needed, especially for those families living in poverty who can’t afford other antimalarial resources.

Through our Malaria Intervention Initiative, we help protect the children and families in our child development programs from catching malaria by providing:

  • Mosquito bed nets treated with insecticide, along with training in how to properly use a net
  • Anti-malarial drugs, IV medication, transfusions, and breathing treatments
  • Education on ways to prevent mosquito breeding areas
  • Resources to clean mosquito breeding grounds, such as ponds and standing water bodies

We fight the spread and threat of malaria by working holistically to provide both the resources and education to best prevent and treat cases of malaria. An $18 gift protects children from the fear of being bitten while he or she sleeps, and provides the entire family with training on how to prevent the disease.

 

Give Today and provide mosquito nets and malaria prevention for children

 

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1 World Health Organization Media Centre Fact sheet N°94. Malaria, November 2017.
2 Briefing paper on "Lessons Learned from Fifteen Years of Responding to Malaria Globally: A Prototype for Sustainable Development." New York: RollBack Malaria Partnership.
3 World Malaria Report 2016. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2016. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
4 Bachou H, Tylleskär T, Kaddu-Mulindwa DH, Tumwine JK. Bacteraemia among severely malnourished children infected and uninfected with the human immunodeficiency virus-1 in Kampala, Uganda. BMC Infect Dis. 2006;6:160. doi: 10.1186/1471-2334-6-160.