On April 25, countries from around the globe will take part in an array of activities to mark World Malaria Day 2013. These activities will be aimed at boosting awareness of the effects of malaria and urging communities to roll back the spread of the mosquito-borne infectious disease, which causes fever, headaches and, in severe cases, can lead to coma or death.
The disease is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions in a broad band around the equator, including much of Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Americas.
Fortunately, malaria can be controlled through antimalarial medications; preventing mosquito bites through the distribution of mosquito nets and insect repellents; and mosquito-control measures such as spraying insecticides and draining standing water.
In Africa, malaria deaths have been cut by one third within the last decade. Outside of Africa, 35 out of the 53 countries, affected by malaria, have reduced their cases by 50%. In countries where access to malaria control interventions has improved most significantly, overall child mortality rates have fallen by approximately 20%.
This year, the World Malaria Day campaign is looking to regroup, re-energise and look ahead to “Invest in the future: Defeat malaria”. Remarkable progress has been made and it is time to celebrate what the global development community has done thus far to combatting this disease.