Why tropical diseases like malaria has continued to remain a challenge in most African countries despite the fact that there are plenty of doctors in these regions? The Background of the Problem: Malaria is an infectious vector borne ailment that is caused by a protozoan parasite called anopheles mosquito. The disease is not only confined in Africa but is also found in parts of Asia and America. So it cannot be said to be an African thing but it is most prevalent in the African regions.
Each year it affects over five hundred million people and claims about three hundred lives. Mostly the disease is associated with poverty where living standards are below the UNDP’s poverty line. Most Africans earn below one dollar in a day and thus they live in areas that have poor living conditions. No hygiene is observed whatsoever and as these areas become the breeding site of mosquitoes. The anopheles mosquito is the only known protozoan parasite that is capable of spreading these germs.
Malaria is highly infectious and thus easily transmitted to different areas by these parasites. When anopheles mosquito bites a person, it deposits a germ that rapidly multiply itself in the red blood cells causing various symptoms that are generally termed as malaria. These systems are loss of blood or one feels anaemic, difficulty in breathing, headache, fever, nausea and if it is very serious it can lead to a coma or even death.
Though the disease is largely associated with poverty, it should not also be forgotten that it has also contributed to the high poverty levels in Africa. This is because a lot of money is spent in buying medicines; a lot of time is spent in taking care of these victims while the same could have been used in doing other things. According to a research that was conducted in 1960s, it revealed that those countries that are greatly affected by the disease registered very little increase in their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) than in those that are not heavily affected.
This is a pointer to the fact that malaria could be blamed for the widespread poverty that has stricken in most parts of Africa. However this relationship between poverty and malaria should not be misconceived as causation. The fact that these regions are poor does not mean that they should be blamed for causing malaria. What it is is that these parts are unable to prevent malaria effectively than in other parts that are well off economically. Africa alone spends more than twelve US dollars per annum in fighting this menace.
This money encompasses all the cost that is used in counteracting the disease and these include; the health officers’ salaries, the cost of preventive medicines, time lost by those who fail to go to school, work that go undone due to sickness, decrease in tourism activities, lack of creativity due to destruction of that part of the brain that controls the brain. This part is called cerebral and that is why the resultant disease is called cerebral malaria. The only key spreader of the disease as mentioned earlier in this research is the female mosquito that belongs to the genes of anopheles mosquitoes.
Now, what really happens is that when mosquitoes bite an infected victim they carry with them the plasmodium germs inform of saliva, these germs through mosquito’s salivary glands become infected but it should be noted that only the female mosquito that rely on blood which means that males do not transmit these germs. These mosquito germs could also be transmitted through blood transfusion although this method is not very common. Most cases of the deaths that result from malaria have been reported from Africa particularly in the Southern part of the Sahara and the countries are in South of this desert.
It has caused sharp decline in the GDP of most African states though these governments have never been reluctant as far as fighting this scourge is concerned. World wide there are about three hundred million cases of malaria but about 270 millions cases are from Africa. The most affected of the human groups is children where it has been said to cause about 20 percent deaths of children under the age of five. The reason why the scourge worst hits Africa is that it is the home of the deadly protozoa called Plasmodium falciparum and especially in the South of Sahara and above all, is the highest killer of all those suffering from the disease.
It has reportedly been said that the reason for the widespread is because most African countries are poor and lack proper infrastructure and suitable mechanisms to fight the disease. These nations cannot afford enough resources to fight this scourge effectively. Due to this fact they are unable to form formidable campaigns capable of reversing the trend. This disease has very many indirect consequences such as many children fail to go to school regularly due to sickness, a lot of funds that could have been used in other areas are spent on controlling it and a lot of human resource is lost through deaths.
One of the greatest challenges that Africans have been facing is the disease becoming resistant to drugs. This has kept researchers working day and night to come up with new drugs that are more effective. Need For Change: Facts About Malaria in Africa. Approximately about 41% of the people in the world live in areas that are malaria-invested areas where it is frequently transmitted. Some of these parts are in Africa and especially in the South of Sahara, other parts in Asia and Middle East.
In every year about three hundred and fifty millions up to five hundred million cases of the disease have been reported in the whole world. According to the same report, approximately a whole million people die of this disease most of them being children mostly from sub-Saharan desert in Africa. The disease is very widespread in this region and hence many deaths. In the year 2002, malaria was the leading children killer in most of the third world countries and particularly in Africa. It is estimated that about 10.
7 percent of children in most developing nations die of malaria. In 2001 for example, about twenty two percent of the patients that were admitted in the hospitals were malaria victims and not less than twenty six percent were outpatients. Malaria still in the same year accounted for 28 % of all those who died in these hospitals. It should not be forgotten that this is only what is in records more than these exist in figures or in short, they go unreported or unrecorded. This is because not all people who suffer from malaria go to hospitals for treatment.
Some just buy some medicines and drugs over the counter and stay at home. Again there are those who cannot even those drugs and thus stay at home here hey die of the disease. Therefore any attempt to fight or to control the disease should not be measured in terms of the recorded figures for in actual fact number is bigger than this. In Africa the most affected by this disease are those children who are under the age of five years this is because at this period they have not yet developed proper immunity in their bodies.
Women are also heavily affected as after they give birth their immunity level goes down but above this, what causes malaria to be prevalent in Africa is the fact that this is the home to the most virulent form of malaria. Africa has also registered the largest figure of deaths because people in most of the third world countries suffer from various diseases such as malnutrition; aids or generally their bodies are weak due to poor living standards. For this reason when mosquitoes bite them their bodies are already weak to fight the germs hence the sickness.
Another fact about malaria in Africa is that there are various drugs that are used to fight the disease. Researchers are working day and night to come up with new and effective methods of containing this menace this is because most of the times, the drugs that are currently in the market have proved to be inefficient as the type of malaria that is most parts of Africa has become resistance to these drugs. Therefore, it is not because Africans do not get the treatment they deserve that they die of malaria, it is because it has become resistance to drugs.
Another fact is that many countries in Africa are not yet developed and they do not even appear to get developed in the near future because of the poor politics that are present. Many African countries such as Congo, Sudan, Somali and Ethiopia as well as others not mentioned are most of the times at war. It is simple knowledge that when a country is at war, its progress retards thus these countries lack proper infrastructure, human resources and funds are wasted in financing these wars.
Another fact is that most of industries that are found in most parts of Africa do not dispose their wastes effectively. They just throw them anywhere where they even trap rainwater. These sites become the breeding sites of mosquitoes thus fuelling the spread of the disease. Proposals: What needs to be done to contain this disease is first to control the population of anopheles mosquito, which could be done by destroying their breeding sites.
All mosquitoes lay their egg in water and they harsh faster in summer because it is hot and it takes only one week to hatch. What the ministries of health should do is to advise the local people to remove and destroy all mosquito sites. This method is effective, as mosquitoes cannot become resistant to drugs. All bushy areas around home compound should be cleared, as these are areas where mosquitoes hide themselves. The ministry should provide people with mosquito safety nets that are properly treated with DDT chemicals, people should also be provided with indoor safety spraying chemicals (IRS).
These are sprayed on walls, roofs, and cowsheds, as well as in other public places in order to keep off mosquitoes. Background Policy: This African Non-governmental health Organisation has noted with a lot of concern that malaria has continued to remain the greatest challenge that most African governments face. Despite their continued efforts in the fight against malaria, the disease has continued to cost many lives in Africa.
It is true if the respective government would implement these policies, the government would protect human pool of sources that is significantly being lost through death. The cost that would be used is less than the amount of human resource that would be protected. It should be understood that even though malaria is attributed to poor living conditions, it has also been the cause of poverty in many parts of Africa. Those countries that have managed to contain its spread have registered growth in their GDP’s.
Most African children do not attend schools due to malaria thus depriving these countries of creative minds that would have been of importance in future. Also if the disease would be controlled either by destroying mosquitoes breeding sites or by using mosquito nets, a lot of money that is used in anti-mosquito campaigns would be directed in to other departments that are in dire need of that money. Current Code of Conduct Though government does not sponsor African governmental health organisation, this organisation conducts research that proves to be very useful to the ministries of health.
It establishes the root causes of the disease, it analyses all available data and finally comes up with the solutions to these problem. Currently it is working hard in hand with the World Health Organisation in kicking malaria out of Africa. Why African Non –Governmental Health Organisation? As a health organisation, we carry out objective researches concerning health issues. The organisation in all its endeavours protects the human rights. We urge the respective governments to implement these policies and set a precedence that other countries would follow.
We should not dwell on the past but we should use it to focus and shape our future. Basically, these are practical policies that governments cannot afford not to implement.
Reference: Department of Health and Human Services. Malaria Facts. 11th April 2007. Accessed at http://www. cdc. gov/malaria/facts. htm on Saturday, March 15th 2008.