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3,000 Perish Daily From Malaria

EDITOR: Manuel F. Lluberas
Vector Control Systems Manager

Malaria kills approximately 3,000 people a day and the toll is rising, according to recent figures released by the WHO and reported by The Guardian Online. Moreover, the British Medical Journal also cites reports from public health agencies around the globe that malaria kills more than one million people a year, with around 90% of these deaths registered in Africa. With these figures as background, public health experts around the world are demanding a concentrated effort to ameliorate the burden of malaria.

According to experts at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in England, Africa is facing a catastrophe equivalent to the deaths caused by the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States every day. Unfortunately for those affected, this situation is being almost ignored and is totally under-funded.

In light of the current malaria situation, the United Nations Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria has allocated $30-million for malaria treatments in 45 African countries. However, that is not nearly enough to provide effective malaria management tools to the more than 300-million cases of malaria each year. Moreover, the "Roll Back Malaria" initiative, launched by the World Health Organization in 1998 to halve malaria deaths by 2010, has not provided the expected results. Malaria continues to be a serious public health issue in most of Africa, especially south of the Sahara; and in some countries, the deaths have actually increased. Protecting the people in remote areas of Africa who are directly affected by the resurgence of malaria has proven to be a significant challenge. People in some countries living on $1 a day or less cannot afford to pay for the drugs to treat malaria and the impregnated mosquito nets to protect themselves and their families against the bite of the mosquito vector.

H.D. Hudson Manufacturing Company has been actively assisting national and international agencies and organizations in several countries in the development and implementation of appropriate integrated vector control methods for many years. Some of the activities we have undertaken include assisting in the design and execution of cascade training programs for indoor residual spray (IRS) teams and the development of timelines and deadlines for sprayers and spare and replacement parts procurement, among other things. At the time of this writing, IRS activities aimed at reducing the vector population in selected areas have made a significant impact on the malaria incidence in many areas where other approved malaria prevention and control tools, methods and medicines had not had tangible effects.

(see "Malaria control by residual insecticide spraying in Chingola and Chililabombwe, Copperbelt Province, Zambia", PubMed: 12225502).