Today (April 25) is World Malaria Day — a day to commemorate global efforts to control malaria. According to the World Health Organization, “the key is to maintain the financial and political commitments to fighting malaria over the next 5 years so that we can reach these ambitious RBM targets and the health-related Millennium Development Goals.”
WHO reports that over 780,000 people died of malaria in 2009, most of them children under the age of five. The disease perpetuates a vicious cycle of poverty in the developing world and malaria-related illnesses and mortality cost Africa’s economy alone approximately USD 12 billion per year.
Key Facts About Malaria (Source: WHO)
- Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected mosquitoes.
- Malaria is preventable and curable.
- In 2008, malaria caused nearly one million deaths, mostly among African children.
- Malaria can decrease gross domestic product by as much as 1.3% in countries with high disease rates.
- Non-immune travelers from malaria-free areas are very vulnerable to the disease when they get infected.