World Malaria Day: Affinity Health Calls to Close Gaps against Malaria
Affinity Health believes more research and education in malaria prevention is key to freeing the world from this avoidable disease.
Affinity Health Sheds Light on Malaria
Did you know the world’s most dangerous predator isn’t a shark, a lion, a crocodile, or a hippo? It’s a mosquito!
Despite dramatic declines in the number of malaria cases and deaths in the past two decades, over half a million lives are still lost to malaria per year.
World Malaria Day on 25 April is an annual event highlighting global efforts to control malaria and celebrate the progress made.
Affinity Health takes this opportunity to share some critical information on malaria and tips on how you can safeguard your family.
“It’s hard to believe that something as insignificant as a mosquito can be the kingpin in the spread of a serious and sometimes fatal parasitic disease called malaria,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.
“While many South Africans are not sufficiently aware of the danger malaria poses, it is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people each year.
More people are dying of malaria than any specific cancer, with experts saying malaria kills more than a million people worldwide every year.
Malaria, TB, and AIDS collectively killed more people in the past 50 years than the combined death toll of all the wars during the same time.”
Read more: Malaria: What You Should Know
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by a type of unicellular microorganism parasite called protozoans.
- Commonly, you are infected by saliva passed into your blood by a bite from a carrier female mosquito.
- In the blood, the parasites are carried to your liver to mature, reproduce and spread the infection across your body.
- Your body will start to show malaria symptoms between 10 and 15 days after infection.
- Symptoms include fevers, headaches, vomiting, sweating, cold shivers, and bodily aches.
- Because the symptoms closely mimic that of the common flu, malaria is sometimes misdiagnosed.
- In severe and untreated cases, infections can cause coma or death.
Malaria is mainly transmitted in the low-altitude areas of the northeastern parts of South Africa.
Specific high-risk areas include Mpumalanga, northern KwaZulu-Natal and Maputaland, and the Eastern and Northern parts of Limpopo.
Medium-risk areas are Kosi Bay and Sodwana Bay, and low-risk areas are the North West Province and the Northern Cape.
Protect Pregnant Women and Children against Malaria
“Some population groups are at considerably higher risk of contracting malaria, and developing severe disease, than others,” says the World Health Organisation.
In Africa, 10 000 women and 75 000 to 200 000 children under the age of one are estimated to die annually because of the infection during pregnancy.
Malaria is a significant cause of anaemia in pregnant women and can lead to maternal death at delivery due to haemorrhage.
It is also responsible for stillbirth, preterm birth, and low birth weight, which increases the risk of death within the first days of the child’s life.
How to Survive a Mosquito Bite
Prevention is better than cure, and a few simple things can go a long way in protecting you and your family.
Affinity Health advises:
- Schedule a doctor’s appointment six weeks in advance of visiting places with malaria cases and take the prescribed anti-malaria medication.
- Wear protective clothing such as long sleeves and pants when outdoors in mosquito-prone areas.
- Use mosquito nets over beds. Nets are lightweight, tightly woven, and very effective at keeping mosquitoes out of your tent or bed at night. Make sure to check it regularly for tears and bring an extranet on your trip with you as a backup.
- Use citronella candles or insect repellent.
- Use mosquito traps in outdoor areas.
- Apply mosquito repellents directly to the skin. Blankets treated with mosquito repellents are helpful.
About Affinity Health
Affinity Health aims to provide premier quality, affordable medical insurance to South Africans. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service when they are faced with injury or illness. We work to deliver innovative solutions that are simple, cost-effective, and proven, so our cover is structured to ensure that you get exactly what you need. For more information, follow us on Facebook, and Instagram.