Sunday , May 22 2022

Malaria is still a risk in the world


The new report of the World Health Organization (WHO) on the global malaria (malaria) situation has generated a new health alert. According to the document, published yesterday by the organization, the reduction in the number of people affected by the disease, which is transmitted through anopheles mosquito bites, has been interrupted in the last year. infected and causing high fever, chills, flu-like symptoms and anemia.

And in 2017 there were 219 million cases, two million more than 2016, after figures had fallen from 2010, when 239 million cases were reported. As he explained Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO General Director, Although no one should die because of malaria, there is a "stagnation of progress that could destroy years of work, investment, and good results in reducing the number of patients."

Historically, transmission has worried the African continent and tropical territories, a continuing trend. WHO showed that 70% of cases occurred in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Tanzania and Uganda and India. And, although malaria can be prevented by the use of insecticides in mosquito nets, half of the African population at risk of infection "did not sleep under a treated net", according to the WHO.

For Colombia, malaria is not a distant problem. Of the 630 cases presented in America, 8% were in our country. In addition, 53% of cases on the continent were recorded in Venezuela (see chart). When asked EL COLOMBIANO Manuel Élkin Patarroyo, who developed the vaccine against this disease, if the country is in danger, the expert and director of the FIDIC found that "the disease is transmissible and can cross all borders."

Malaria transmission is focal. That is, when the alert is generated in a country, this does not mean that the whole territory has the same level of risk. This is the case with Chocó, with the highest transmission rate. In addition, the country shares its borders with the two countries that have more cases on the continent: Brazil and Venezuela, eventually, have seen a 70% increase in the number of cases, wishing to reflect on malaria prevention policies government Nicolás Maduro

However, for the WHO, "the region has made significant progress" because eleven countries have experienced a reduction in cases. José Pablo Escobar, Dean of the Faculty of Public Health at Antioquia University, stresses that in principle a risk can be said when considering cases occurring in the neighboring country, but it depends on the place where Venezuela, the Bolivar state is also referred to, is the most affected by this situation.

With regard to the increase in the number of cases registered by the WHO, Escobar notes that "the important thing is the trend. If this is more than five years of decline, indicating that things are improving and tends to occur in Colombia" and states that "there should be no mortality", being a disease that can be prevented through appropriate public policies – and what is workable.

Currently, the University of Rosario and Fidic tests the effectiveness of the new Patarroyo vaccine vaccine, which has the support of the Government of Ghana, where its entire population – 28 million people – is at risk of contracting malaria, and Africa is still the continent with the highest number of cases and deaths from malaria.

Kwadwo Koram, former director of the Noguchi Medical Research Institute in Ghana, explains that "the problem is shrinking, reports show that there is more control and in recent years the situation has fallen but has not fallen to zero. work to get there. "But what can governments do to prevent it from being transmitted?

Koram and Escobar said it was important to improve care, inform the population about how disease can be prevented and support science. Cases like Paraguay, which were certified as free malaria in June this year, being the first American country to have this status in Cuba 45 years ago, show that malaria work benefits the population.

Can Columbia do it? José Pablo Escobar He says that certification is a goal of the Ministry of Health, but a great effort must be made and "to reach it, it may be ten or more years. We need to improve the capacity to search for cases in all sectors where there are climatic conditions favors transmission, which are many ". So, there are still ongoing tasks in the country and around the world to prevent malaria.

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