Malaria: a disease that was on the decline until the Ebola pandemic diverted healthcare efforts. Malaria is endemic in sub-saharan African countries, since the invasion of intimidating head-to-toe isolation suited medics, treatable malaria sufferers have avoided medical assistance, leaving the disease neglected.
Whilst widespread fear of Ebola has engulfed the western world, Malaria, a disease that was on its way to elimination has become ever more of a plague. The malaria mortality rate in Africa had decreased by 53% between 2000 and 2013, however, in Sierra Leone due to the 50% reduction of vaccinations, the ‘Ebola-time’ malaria mortality rate has become distressing. The frustrating fact is that the fragile gains on beating Malaria are slowly being overturned by the new disease in town.
Whilst Malaria killed 627,000 people last year, it does not pose as great a threat due to the hot climate needed for transmission of the disease by Anopheles Mosquito vectors, therefore the west remain blind and oblivious to its horrifying aftermath. Malaria, a disease which when caught early can be treated with simple drugs, prevented by cheap bed nets and eradicated by testing. The issue brought by Ebola is that although the initial symptoms are comparable to Malaria, the prognosis is less favourable. Therefore, Africa endures avoidable deaths as Malaria sufferers steer clear of treatment centres in order to prevent Ebola contamination, leaving ghost-like wards in its place.
Another challenge which confronts Malaria suppression is the emergence of Artisiminin resistance. Whilst I don’t want to regurgitate the current lectures given by the same fear of antibiotic resistance, the prospect of Malaria becoming uncontrollable and untreatable could lead to a medieval-like epidemic.