Today, 25 April, is World Malaria Day – a day when we join together in a pledge to fight malaria and raise awareness of how it can be prevented. With 247 million worldwide cases of malaria in 2021 alone, and an estimated 619,000 deaths, malaria is a major global problem. But with the right healthcare resources, it is a preventable and treatable problem.
What is malaria?
Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. Symptoms usually appear around 10 to 15 days after a bite, typically beginning as a fever, chills and headaches before more severe symptoms develop – potentially including multiple organ failure and death.
The risk of malaria can be reduced by using anti-mosquito measures such as mosquito nets and insect repellents, while travellers can take anti-malaria medication if visiting a high-risk area. Effective treatments exist, in particular artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), but the disease needs early intervention. There are on-going efforts to produce an effective malaria vaccine.
What is World Malaria Day about?
World Malaria Day was started in 2007 as a means for keeping malaria in the spotlight on the world stage, aiming to maintain pressure on governments to invest in malaria prevention and control. It underpins the World Health Organization’s Global technical strategy for malaria 2016-2030, which sets the ambitious target of reducing global malaria incidence and mortality rates by at least 90% by 2030.
While a growing number of countries have been certified malaria-free, there is a pressing need to tackle the problem in the WHO Africa region. In 2020, African countries accounted for 95% of malaria cases and 96% of deaths. Sadly, children under 5 make up the majority of these deaths, accounting for 80% of all malaria deaths in 2021.
How Unimed can help
As a procurement agency supplying healthcare products and services around the world, Unimed is in a strong position to support our partners in the global fight against malaria. Our operating offices around the world include one in South Africa, providing a hub for the WHO African region.
Our mission is to create equal access to healthcare products across the world, which is why we’re working with manufacturers and suppliers globally to help provide quality anti-malaria products in a timely and cost-effective manner.