Today is Africa Malaria Day. The slogan for this year is “Free Africa from malaria now!” - which summarises the situation very well. The Dark Continent can take no more of this disease transmitted by mosquitoes. A number of events are being organised all over Africa.
Huge concerts and debate in Yaoundé in Cameroon, in Dakar in Senegal, in South Africa... The aim of this year’s events is to raise awareness in the international community rather than among local populations who are, alas, all too familiar with the extent of the problem.
Malaria is a plague which kills 1.2 million people each year throughout the world, but eight out of ten live on the African continent! A disaster which is worrying the international community since this disease often exists alongside the AIDS virus and famine. As in Niger, for instance, where according to Dr Fatouma Nafo-Traoré at the WHO, it constitutes “as big a threat as hunger for children”.
It is in fact possible to overcome malaria. What weapons are needed? Mosquito nets impregnated with insecticide, of course, and also ACT or Artemisinin Combination Therapies. These therapies constitute the protocol adopted by the WHO because of its effectiveness against plasmodium falciparum, which is resistant to quinine. However, local populations still need to be able to get access to these treatments. Not well-educated and not properly monitored by a too small number of healthcare professionals, those affected by malaria are not well cared for. The direct consequence of this is the emergence of resistant strains that are making treatment increasingly difficult.