Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Malaria and Me

I have been engaged in taking MOOC classes to broaden my learning goals.   The most recent course I have taken is Risk and Oppurtunity sponsored by the World Bank.  The purpose of the course is to bring light to the many plights people face around the world and how risk mitigation can buffer many of the threats countries, communities and people face.

We have been asked to pick a topic as a final assignment and I have chosen the topic of Malaria and the devastation it brings.

According to the World Bank over 3.3 million people are at risk for contracting Malaria with the hardest hit in the African continent.   This disease is transmitted by mosquitoes which carry a protozoa parasite that is blood borne.  This parasite attacks the red blood cells and in most cases causes death if left untreated.

Sickness is a major t hreat not only to the individual but to communities.   It causes economic hardships,  psychological stress and is a major disruptor for the immediate family and community.

The World Bank states this about the economic impact of Malaria:

The disease takes a high toll on households and health care systems, and impedes economic development in endemic countries. It is estimated that malaria reduces GDP growth by approximately 1.3% per year in some African countries.  (1)  

The risks can be controlled by a number of factors such as proper funding, education, continual research and implementation of health policies such as nets and the use of pesticides.  Sadly Malaria is overlooked in Western Nations and does not receive the funding it needs to be controlled (2).   Efforts have been made by many organizations including the Centers of Disease Control, non-profit organizations such as and, the World Health Organization and many others.

Even with adequate funding, impediments are present which is based on a lack of understanding. Education provides a remedy to this by disseminating teaching those in endemic areas the necessary ways to prevent this disease by the use of mosquito nets and the use of pesticides. (3)

Economically feasible methods of testing and treatment are being revised every day to make treatment convenient and accessible.    Western nations can assist by becoming aware of this killer and by making economic contributions.  Anyone interested in helping can visit the following site to see how they can help.