The fight against malaria — one of the largest killers in the world, has been going in many directions for many years. We have achieved some progress in the fight and certain challenges need to be faced efficiently to win against malaria.
With a view to tracking progress in the fight against malaria, World Malaria Day was observed last Monday throughout the world including Bangladesh. Experts urged to reinforce efforts to make progress towards the goal of zero malaria deaths by 2015.
The world has come a long way towards realising the goal, since the first World Malaria Day four years ago, when it was estimated that a child died every 30 seconds of malaria. The huge increase in support for malaria control interventions in recent years means we can now acknowledge a reduction in the death rate; where once over a million people died of the disease annually, the figure is now closer to 790,000. This is progress and it shows that what we are doing is working. However we cannot afford to ease back until this number is zero, and this year everyone in the malaria community is discussing the remaining obstacles we face in the fight against malaria.
The mass distributions of long lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) and their increasing availability in the private sector have made a dramatic impact on the number of malaria cases. However, hundreds of thousands of people are still contracting malaria, and many of these people are unable to access appropriate and timely treatment.
In Bangladesh, resistance to the only drugs that can beat severe malaria (artemisinin-based combination therapy drugs) poses a real threat to malaria elimination globally.
Reducing the impact of malaria is key to the achievement of the MGD, which are geared towards not only combating the disease itself, but the improvement of women’s and children’s rights to health, access to education and the reduction of extreme poverty.
The writer is a physician and doing his MD course-work in Endocrinology at BIRDEM Academy, Dhaka.
Source: The Daily Star, April 30, 2011