World Malaria Day 2024: Know the Significance


World Malaria Day 2024: Know the Significance

Malaria, the plasmodium infection, is widely caused by Anopheles mosquitoes. When the infected mosquitoes, carrying plasmodium parasites, bite a human, the parasite is transferred into the human bloodstream, thus causing malaria. In the year 2022, India reported a decline in malaria cases by 30%, with a total of 33.8 lakh cases across the country. With the rising awareness and infrastructural development, the cases are witnessing a decline. Tropical and sub-tropical regions are high-risk regions for malaria.

As a step towards the prevention and control of malaria cases, we witness World Malaria Day each year on the 25th of April. The World Health Organisation pays utmost importance towards suppressing the spread of malaria. In this article, we will discuss Malaria Awareness Day, various causes and symptoms of malaria, and possible medical treatments. So, let's continue further.

Why is World Malaria Day Celebrated?

World Malaria Day was first recognised globally in 2007. It was celebrated for the first time internationally in 2008. The 25th April as World Malaria Day was influenced by Africa Malaria Day1, which has been held by the African government since 2001 on this date. Now that we know about World Malaria Day history, let's understand the motive behind the celebration. 

World Malaria Day is held globally and acknowledged with the aim of increasing awareness of this disease. The larger and long-term goal is to make our world malaria-free so there is no more loss of life due to this illness. In 2023, the World Malaria Day theme was ‘Time to deliver zero malaria: invest, innovate, implement’. 

The World Health Organisation believes that malaria is a preventable disease and with proper precautionary measures, increased awareness, and better healthcare facilities, it is possible to stop malaria deaths and serious cases. Every year, on World Malaria Day, India also takes a step towards eliminating malaria as aimed by 2030.

World Malaria Day 2024

Like always, this year also, World Malaria Day will be held on 25th April 2024. The World Malaria Day theme for this year is yet to be announced officially by the World Health Organisation. 

However, we can enhance our knowledge by discussing a little deeper about malaria, how it spreads, the symptoms and treatment coverage. 

How does Malaria Spread?

Moving on, let's discuss how malaria spreads and what can be the causes of Malaria. As aforementioned, malaria is caused by the Anopheles genus of mosquitoes. Usually, between 10 pm to 4 am, malaria carriers are expected to bite. The bite of female Anopheles mosquitoes transmits plasmodium to the human bloodstream, which eventually turns into malaria. After mosquito bites, the parasites flow towards the liver, where they remain for growth until the next few days. Once the parasites are mature, they enter the bloodstream to attack red blood cells. Within a few days, the parasites multiply, causing devastating effects on red blood cells. 2

Female Anopheles genus mosquitoes are the only known malaria carriers. Out of 430 Anopheles species of mosquitoes, 30-40 species (termed as Vectors) are known to cause malaria. The rest of the species may not develop malaria parasites.

Malaria is usually spread by mosquito bites. However, it may also spread due to the transfusion of blood from one infected person to another. Contaminated syringes or needles can also spread malaria from one infected person to another.3

Symptoms of Malaria

It takes around 1-4 weeks for malaria parasites to start showing symptoms. In some cases, it may take months for malaria to show symptoms. Some of the common symptoms of malaria are:

  • Severe Chills 
  • High-grade fever
  • Excessive sweating
  • Appetite loss
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Anemia
  • Coma
  • Convulsions
  • Bloody stools
  • Weakness
  • Restlessness
  • Low blood sugar
  • Cerebral malaria which causes swelling of blood vessels in the brain
  • Fluid accumulation in the lungs causes pulmonary oedema
  • Organ failure like that of kidneys, spleen, and liver.

The symptoms may become severe in a short span of time and cause life-threatening conditions and even death. It is highly recommended to not ignore any signs and symptoms of malaria and get it diagnosed at the earliest. This  malaria awareness day,  let's create awareness to prevent malaria together. 

Treatment for Malaria

Once malaria is diagnosed via blood tests, treatment is carried out. Depending on the type of parasite that has infected you, the treatment is carried out. Parasite P. Falciparum causes some of the most severe cases of malaria.

Hospitalisation may be required, and medications may be prescribed. In some cases where the parasites are drug-resistant, more than one medicine may be prescribed. Other complications due to malaria are also treated simultaneously. To prevent the relapse of the infection later on, certain medications and treatments may be given since, in some patients, the parasites may tend to live longer, which may increase the risk of future infection relapse.

Does Health Insurance Cover Malaria?

Malaria is a vector-borne disease. The medical expenses associated with its diagnosis and treatment can be quite expensive. People with sufficient health insurance coverage can find it easier to cope with the rising medical costs. Care Health Insurance covers vector-borne diseases like malaria, chikungunya, dengue etc. With the right health insurance plan and comprehensive coverage, you don't have to compromise your healthcare services anymore. Timely and quality treatment can help fight against the disease.

Malaria is most prevalent in rural areas, especially in tropical and subtropical regions. Urban areas also report substantial cases. Hence, people from both rural and urban areas can benefit from health insurance plans.

How to Prevent Malaria?

Discussions of World Malaria Day will remain incomplete without mentioning the preventive measures of malaria. So, let us see how malaria can be prevented:

  • Vaccines against Parasite P. Falciparum are available for children, which causes severe cases of malaria.
  • If you are travelling to a malaria-prone region, taking preventive medicines is highly recommended. You should follow the medications prescribed by your doctor to prevent the disease. However, remember that these are preventive medicines, so it is not effective on people who have already developed malaria.
  • Make sure to cover your skin as much as you can and apply mosquito repellent cream during the mosquitos’ season or travelling to a place that is exposed to malaria.
  • Using bed nets and window sheets can help in avoiding contact with vector mosquitoes.

To Sum Up

As discussed earlier, vector-borne diseases like malaria are preventable with the right precautionary measures. People who are living in malaria-risk regions must follow basic preventive measures to avoid contracting Anopheles mosquitoes. Make sure to get your children vaccine doses. Apart from these, having a health insurance coverage such as those offered by Care Health Insurance can be beneficial in case one has to seek medical attention for vector-borne diseases. This World Malaria Day, let's vow to make our world malaria-free!

>> Also Read: 7 Key Things to Know about Malaria Prevention

Disclaimers: The above information is for reference purposes only. Kindly consult your general physician for verified medical advice. The health insurance benefits are subject to policy terms and conditions. Refer to your policy documents for more information.

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