The Economic Impact of Malaria
When I think of malaria, the first thing that comes to mind is "weakness". Unfortunately, it has a comparable effect on economic growth. It is somehow incomprehensible and mind-boggling that such a deadly parasitic disease is transmitted through the mere bite of something as irrelevant as the bite of a female Anopheles mosquito.
Disease and poor health signify a huge burden to affected individuals. Although it is difficult to quantify, the welfare losses to the individual are highly significant. This problem is exaggerated in developing regions where there is a limited provision of healthcare, infrastructure and social security.
Malaria is preventable and treatable, yet nearly half of the world's population remains at risk. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), In 2016, there were an estimated 216 million cases of malaria in 91 countries (an increase of about 5 million over 2015). Likewise, Malaria deaths reached 445, 000 in 2016. Africa accounts for 90% of malaria cases and 91% of malaria deaths. Malaria has been identified as the main cause of death of children under the age of 5 in sub-Saharan Africa. It kills a child every 60 seconds and poses a deadly threat to pregnant women.
Malaria is highly predominant in Africa for the reasons listed below:
The presence of a very efficient mosquito (Anopheles gambiae) which is responsible for high transmission.
Local weather conditions (tropical climates) enable transmission to occur all year round.
Insufficient resources and socio-economic stability have prevented the success and effectiveness of malaria control activities.