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SADC Malaria Week from November 2 - 6

Published

2015

Thu

05

Nov

Johannesburg: The Innovative Pharmaceutical Association of South Africa (IPASA) is throwing its weight behind SADC Malaria Week from November 2 - 6, increasing awareness of the disease, and in this way contributing towards lowering the high incidence and mortality rate of what is, effectively, a preventable and treatable disease.

Despite tremendous progress in the fight against malaria over the past decade, the disease remains an acute public health problem in many regions, especially sub-Saharan Africa. 

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there were an estimated 214 million new cases of malaria across the globe in 2015 alone, and approximately 438 000 resultant deaths. 89% of these cases, and 91% of deaths, were in sub-Saharan Africa. 

“A sustained global effort involving a combination of prevention and timeous treatment has resulted in the global reduction in malaria mortality rates by 47% since 2000, and by 54% in the WHO African region,” explains Dries Oelofse, Business Development Manager of the Drug Discovery and Development Centre (H3D) at the University of Cape Town. 

“Global malaria control is one of the huge public health success stories in the past decade, but unfortunately, the disease remains a killer in the SADC region, due to the deadly combination of insufficient economic development, under-resourced health infrastructure, and a lack of awareness of preventative and treatment regimes.” 

Over the past decade, innovative pharmaceutical companies have played a massive role in the fight against malaria.

“While bed nets and insecticides remain crucial factors in the prevention of infection, the advancements in preventative medications and treatments - such as the recent development of a malarial vaccine, and the release of a new combination therapy that improves patient compliance – contribute to the reduction in new infections and mortality rates,” says Mr Oelofse.

IPASA CEO Dr Konji Sebati, who is also a Board Member of the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV),  says that IPASA remains committed to the research and development of new malaria medicines and vaccines that could contribute to the fight against malaria. 

Comprising 25 research-based pharmaceutical companies, the association strives to build an environment that supports sustainable access to innovative, research-based healthcare.

“As a member of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA), IPASA and its members uphold the research and development of safe, high-quality and effective disease treatments that improve patients’ health. This work includes the development of innovative drugs and vaccines, the support for programmes of research and development for diseases prevailing in developing countries.

“In support of SADC Malaria Week, we would like to add our voice to the many companies, researchers, doctors and other medical personnel, as well as the thousands of community workers who have dedicated their lives to saving the lives of those affected by malaria,” says Dr. Sebati.

Dr Karen Barnes, Professor of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Cape Town and Founding Director of the MRC Collaborating Centre for Optimising Antimalarial Therapy adds that these companies still have a huge role to play:

“The malaria parasite is adept at developing drug resistance, with resistance to the artemisinin-based compounds that form the backbone of effective malaria treatment spreading rapidly across South East Asia and nearing the Indian border.”

It is only a matter of time before this resistance spreads globally. 

“This creates a very urgent need for the development of novel anti-malarials,” she says.

 Mr. Oelofse adds that innovation from pharmaceutical companies shouldn’t be confined to drug-related discoveries:

“Malaria is an economic problem, a health systems problem, a logistics problem, a treatment problem and an education problem. Whether its in the form of new preventative measures, such as environmentally-friendly ways to control mosquito populations, or new treatment solutions that promote drug adherence, even novel stock control systems to prevent stock-outs at far-flung rural clinics or seemingly-impossible ideas that involve drone-delivery of urgent medication, innovation holds the key to solving the problem.

“Almost 450 000 people died of malaria this year, so while we have made huge advances, it is not enough - particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. We need a different approach and that means innovation, including innovation for new drugs and vaccines.”

“This is a preventable and treatable disease, but only if we are able to remain one step ahead. We urge all travelers to familiarise themselves with areas that have a malaria risk and to take the necessary precautions to minimise the risk of contracting malaria,” concludes Dr. Sebati.

 WHO MALARIA KEY FACTS

  • Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female mosquitoes.

  • About 3.2 billion people – almost half of the world’s population – are at risk of malaria.

  • Young children, pregnant women and non-immune travellers from malaria-free areas are particularly vulnerable to the disease when they become infected.

  • Malaria is preventable and curable, and increased efforts are dramatically reducing the malaria burden in many places.

  • Between 2000 and 2015, malaria incidence (the rate of new cases) fell by 37% globally. In that same period, malaria death rates fell by 60% globally among all age groups, and by 65% among children under 5.

  • Sub-Saharan Africa carries a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden. In 2015, the region was home to 89% of malaria cases and 91% of malaria deaths.

    Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites. The parasites are spread to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes, called "malaria vectors.” There are 5 parasite species that cause malaria in humans, and 2 of these species – P. falciparum and P. vivax – pose the greatest threat.

P. falciparum is the most prevalent malaria parasite on the African continent. It is responsible for most malaria-related deaths globally.

P. vivax has a wider distribution than P. falciparum, and predominates in many countries outside of Africa.

Malaria Symptoms

Malaria is an acute febrile illness. In a non-immune individual, symptoms appear 7 days or more (usually 10–15 days) after the infective mosquito bite. The first symptoms – fever, headache, chills and vomiting – may be mild and difficult to recognise as malaria. If not treated within 24 hours, P. falciparum malaria can progress to severe illness, often leading to death.

Children with severe malaria frequently develop 1 or more of the following symptoms: severe anaemia, respiratory distress in relation to metabolic acidosis, or cerebral malaria. In adults, multi-organ involvement is also frequent. In malaria endemic areas, people may develop partial immunity, allowing asymptomatic infections to occur. 

Malaria Risk Areas in Africa 

In Africa, malaria is a major problem, especially from Sub-Saharan countries down to northern South Africa (low risk). Also, anyone travelling to Kenya should keep in mind that in Kenya, malaria is widespread. Some regions of Kenya are safer, in particular those in high altitude (above 2,500 metres), as well as the area around Nairobi. The illness is less common in Northern Africa, which is marked as a low risk region.

Country

Reported Malaria Cases

Reported Deaths

1.     Algeria

4

1

2.     Angola

1632282

6909

3.     Benin

422968

1753

4.     Botswana

432

8

5.     Burkina Faso

428113

7001

6.     Burundi

1571874

2233

7.     Cape Verde

36

4

8.     Chad

181126

1220

9.     Comoros

24856

19

10.  Congo

71048

892

11.  Cote d'Ivoire

29976

1389

12.  Democratic Republic of the Congo

4561981

23748

13.  Equatorial Guinea

22466

52

14.  Eritrea

34848

12

15.  Ethiopia

1480306

936

16.  Gabon

8566

182

17.  Gambia

261967

440

18.  Ghana

1041260

3259

19.  Guinea

95574

743

20.  Guinea-Bissau

71982

472

21.  Kenya

1002805

713

22.  Liberia

1915762

1422

23.  Malawi

304499

6674

24.  Mali

307035

2128

25.  Mauritania

2926

77

26.  Mozambique

1756874

3086

27.  Namibia

1860

36

28.  Niger

780876

2802

29.  Nigeria

551187

3353

30.  Rwanda

208858

380

31.  Sao Tome and Principe

8442

19

32.  Senegal

165933

574

33.  Sierra Leone

638859

3573

34.  South Africa

9866

54

35.  Swaziland

549

8

36.  Togo

519450

1314

37.  Uganda

231873

5958

38.  United Republic of Tanzania

1845917

840

39.  Zimbabwe

319935

451

 References:

·       WHO/UNICEF report: Malaria MDG target achieved amid sharp drop in cases and mortality, but 3 billion people remain at risk. Found at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2015/malaria-mdg-target/en/

·       WHO Malaria Fact sheet N°94 Reviewed October 2015:   http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs094/en/

·       DrEd.com: https://www.dred.com/uk/malaria-map.html

 
Source: Bespoke Communications
 
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