Wednesday, 23 April 2014

World Malaria Day

Malaria is horrible.  It kills people.
In 2005 I was lucky enough to attend a conference for pharmacy students in Ghana. One of my friends did not make it home alive to his native Macedonia. He contracted malaria and died. He was not able to purchase the recommended antimalarial tablets in his home country. I spent my last day in Ghana with him. His death was preventable. 
All malaria deaths are preventable.

World Malaria Day takes place this Friday, 25th April 2014. Through this campaign the World Health Organisation aims to eliminate malaria world wide. This is a big task and has come a long way in the past decade but we are not there yet. Malaria still kills an estimated 627 000 people every year, mainly children under 5 years of age in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2013, 97 countries had on-going malaria transmission.
Every year, more than 200 million cases occur; most of these cases are never tested or registered. Emerging drug and insecticide resistance threaten to reverse recent gains.
In 2013 there were 59 reported cases of malaria in Scotland, brought back from travellers to areas where malaria is present.
Although these numbers are not great they should act as a reminder to us all to get the right advice on malaria before you go.
Advice for travellers
There is no vaccine available to prevent malaria. However, there are antimalarial tablets which can provide protection. .
All travellers to malarious areas should follow the ABCD of malaria prevention:

  • Awareness of risk – know the malaria risk for the country you’re visiting.
  • Mosquito Bite prevention – take practical measures to avoid mosquito bites, including bed nets, repellent and insecticide.
  • Chemoprophylaxis – take country-specific anti-malarial tablets.
  • Diagnosis and treatment - know the signs and symptoms of malaria and the importance of prompt treatment.
Further advice is available on the fitfortravel website - which is a great online resource if you are heading off travelling.  Remember we have a travel clinic at Barnton Pharmacy. Call 0131 339 3449 for more information.


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