Effects Of Malaria in Rwanda & Sierra Leone

Malaria – A disease that causes recurrent fever, caused by a parasite transmitted by mosquitoes.

Transmission of the Malaria Parasite – Anopheles Mosquitoes

Malaria is transmitted among humans by female mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles. Female mosquitoes take blood meals to carry out egg production, and such blood meals are the link between the human and the mosquito hosts in the parasite life cycle. The successful development of the malaria parasite in the mosquito (from the “gametocyte” stage to the “sporozoite” stage) depends on several factors. The most important is ambient temperature and humidity (higher temperatures accelerate the parasite growth in the mosquito) and whether the Anopheles survives long enough to allow the parasite to complete its cycle in the mosquito host (“sporogonic” or “extrinsic” cycle, duration 10 to 18 days). Differently from the human host, the mosquito host does not suffer noticeably from the presence of the parasites.

General Information

There are approximately 3,500 species of mosquitoes grouped into 41 genera. Human malaria is transmitted only by females of the genus Anopheles. Of the approximately 430 Anopheles species, only 30-40 transmit malaria (i.e. are “vectors”) in nature.

Geographic Distribution

Anophelines are found worldwide except in Antarctica. Malaria is transmitted by different Anopheles species, depending on the region and the environment.

Anophelines that can transmit malaria are found not only in malaria-endemic areas, but also in areas where malaria has been eliminated. The latter areas are thus constantly at the risk of re-introduction of the disease.

In sub – Saharan Africa, cases of malaria are reported each day and the death of children under the age of 5 is every 60 seconds across the region.

The effect of the disease has left many families pain-stricken and with little hope. Every day is a challenge for many, as communities battle the negative impacts of malaria on the economy and productivity and large amounts of money are spent in the fight against the disease. With the alarming rate of malaria cases in Sierra Leone and Rwanda, these are the regions most susceptible to the financial repercussions of treating the disease.

Sierra Leone

Malaria is one of the most serious public health problems in Sierra Leone today. It is the most common cause of illness and death in the country, and it is a disease that threatens anyone from all sectors of life. Malaria accounts for about 50% of outpatient visits and 38% of admissions. Malaria-related illnesses contribute to 38% and 25% of child deaths and all-ages mortality rates, respectively. The most vulnerable groups include children under 5 years old and pregnant women.

The 2014 Sierra Leone service availability and readiness assessment [2] reported that, over 24% of children under 5 years had malaria in the 2 weeks preceding the survey and that 26% of children under 5 years and 27& of pregnant women slept under insecticide-treated nets. The survey also reported that only 15% of children with fever received anti-malarial medicines within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms and less than 2% of children under 5 years received drugs within 24 hours due to proper care. [2]

Malaria control has progressed significantly, especially in the area of prevention. In November 2011, Sierra Leone conducted a week-long National Integrated Maternal and Child Health Campaign to provide health interventions by W.H.O, which included the distribution of over 3.2 million long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLINs) to all households in the country. The campaign aimed to achieve 100% household possession of LLINs and it was a successful endeavor by the government of Sierra Leone, with the help of the World Health Organization. [3]

In June 2015, 6 months after the universal access campaign, 87% of households had at least one LLIN, and 67% had more than one LLIN. A total of 36% of households had at least one LLIN for every two household members, and 83% of households had at least one member sleeping under an LLIN. In addition, 73% of children under 5 years and 77% of pregnant women slept under an LLIN the night before the survey. Among households possessing at least on LLIN, 80% of children and 88% of pregnant women slept under an LLIN, which helped to decrease the cases of malaria in the country. With proper education on malaria transmission and prevention, 97% of household heads finally recognized mosquito bites as a main cause of malaria today. [3]

These results clearly represent a substantial improvement in LLIN coverage estimates when compared to the Malaria Indicator Survey conducted in 2016. There was a drastic reduction of malaria nation-wide. [3][4]

The Ministry of Health and Sanitation has adopted strategies and interventions for malaria control in the country, as proposed by the Roll Back Malaria Change Initiative gold that was commissioned by the president of Sierra Leone, His Excellency President Ernest Bia Koroma. [3] The National Malaria Control Programme is the first point of contact in the Ministry for all technical matters relating to malaria and is responsible for the coordination of malaria control activities in the country. In accordance with the on-going decentralization process, the government deems it fit to fight malaria at all costs and with the help of WHO.

At district level, coordination is carried out by the various district health management teams in collaboration with local district councils, along with the help of the traditional head of each fiefdom. At community level, the trained health worker serves as a link between the programme, district health management teams and chiefdom/village development committees. [5]

In addition to resources provided by the Government of Sierra Leone, malaria control is funded by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria and that of the World Health Organization as the frontrunner.

By Dr. Sankoh of Connut Hospital.

REFERENCES

  1. Sierra Leone health and demographic survey, 2016: key findings (pdf 3.15Mb). Calverton, Maryland, Statistics Sierra Leone and ICF Macro, 2009.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Sierra Leone service availability and readiness assessment (pdf 4.9Mb). Government of Sierra Leone, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, 2011.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Sierra Leone LLIN universal access campaign post-campaign ownership and use survey )pdf 941.6 kb). government of Sierra Leone, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, 2011.
  4. Sierra Leone survey report: coverage of malaria control interventions in Sierra Leone. Government of Sierra Leone, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, 2010.
  5. National Malaria Control Program, i policy. Government of Sierra Leone, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, 2005.

Malaria Statistics for Rwanda

What are the malaria statistics for Rwanda?

The following statistics are taken from the World Health Organization (www.who.org)

  • Approximately 90% of Rwandans are at risk of malaria.
  • Malaria is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Rwanda, and is responsible for up to 50% of all outpatient visits.
  • In 2005, Rwanda reported 991,612 malaria cases.
  • In 2006, malaria was responsible for 37% of outpatient consultations and 41% of hospital deaths, of which 42% were children under five.

Thus, in our quest to making the world a better place, we should not forget to get rid of that which inhibits our progress by its negative effect on humanity. Let’s join hands in fighting together against the malaria epidemic through our actions today for a brighter tomorrow.

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