World Malaria Day: Harness innovation to save lives...

World Malaria Day: Harness innovation to save lives

 Feature Desk

 Published: 11:18 AM, 25 April 2022   Updated: 03:22 PM, 25 April 2022

World Malaria Day today; Photo: Collected

World Malaria Day today; Photo: Collected

World Malaria Day is being observed today (April 25) all over the world including Bangladesh.

The first Malaria Day was observed in Africa on April 25, 2001. World Malaria Day was then proposed in 2006 at the 60th session of the World Health Assembly. Since then, April 25 has been celebrated as World Malaria Day every year.

The theme for this year’s World Malaria Day is “Harness innovation to reduce the malaria disease burden and save lives.”

Under the auspices of the World Health Organization (WHO), this day is observed by its member states around the world and other organizations involved in it to prevent malaria and create awareness.

According to Wikipedia: The word malaria means polluted air. Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease in humans and other animals, originating from Plasmodium malariae (a type of microorganism). The term malaria was first used by Torti (1753). The word Malaria comes from the Italian words “Mal” (means contaminated) and “aria” (means air). At one time, people thought that the disease was caused by consuming polluted air.

By 1880, Charles Laveran had identified single-celled parasitic protozoa from red blood cells as the cause of malaria. As a result, the inhale of polluted air puts an end to the misconception of disease for hundreds of years. 

In 1897, Sir Ronald Ross, a British physician working in India, proved that the Anopheles mosquito was a carrier of the disease. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1902 for this groundbreaking discovery.

Malaria begins with the bite of an infected female mosquito (Anopheles mosquito), which enters the circulatory system through its saliva and eventually reaches the liver, where they mature and reproduce. Common symptoms of malaria are fever and headache, which in severe cases can lead to coma or death.

The day is being celebrated in Bangladesh like in other countries of the world. Out of 64 districts of Bangladesh, 71 upazilas of 13 districts bordering South and North-East have severe outbreaks of malaria. Of these, Rangamati Hill Tracts, Bandarban and Khagrachari are identified as malaria prone and Cox’s Bazar as Central Malaria prone. However, the impact of malaria in these areas is much less than before.

World Malaria Day is one of the 8 official days and programs associated with the WHO. The rest are World Tuberculosis Day, World Immunization Week, World Health Day, World No Tobacco Day, World AIDS Day, World Blood Donor Day and World Hepatitis Day. 

According to the latest World Malaria Report, about 429,000 people died and 212 million were newly infected with malaria in 2015. From 2010 to 2015, the number of malaria cases decreased by 21 percent and the mortality rate by 29 percent. In sub-Saharan Africa, that rate has dropped to 21 percent and 31 percent, respectively.