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Fund Malaria Campaigns in Africa

Published on December 14th, 2017 at 04:11 am

By Ron Nodel

Malaria has been one of the most devastating diseases in recent decades, and must be addressed in the location which it impacts most—Africa. Malaria is caused by female Anopheles Mosquitos spreading the Plasmodium Parasite, and presents its symptoms as a flu-like illness, with some effects being shaking chills, headaches, muscle aches, and fatigue (USAD 44). Nearly half of the world’s population was at risk for Malaria in 2015, showing just how much reach the disease has spead. Simply allowing the devastating disease to kill hundreds of thousands would be morally wrong. Families all throughout Africa have been devastated by Malaria, causing a countless number of their lives to be ruined. Action must be taken to help those in need as at this stage, it would be extremely difficult for Africans to solve this on their own.

A logical argument can easily be made for Malaria as it has been one of the most devastating diseases in the world. Though there have been Malaria Eradication Programs throughout the world, they have mostly focused on their own countries. An example of this would be the United States, eliminating Malaria in three years, ending in 1951(USAD 46). With the whole United States participating to end this deadly disease, it was easily accomplished. The Global Malaria Eradication Program was launched in 1955, and saw much success in certain areas of the world. However, it was abandoned in 1969 as the inner countries of Africa had certain conditions that made it extremely difficult to control the disease. This abandonment led to the many deaths and incidents of today.

Though there have been numerous deaths and incidents worldwide, a large majority of these were in Africa. “In 2015, there were an estimated 214 million incident cases of malaria and an estimated 438, 000 malaria deaths worldwide. Most of the incidence (88 percent) occurred in Africa…The vast majority (90 percent) of Malaria deaths also occurred in Africa” (World Health Organization). This shows just how disproportionately the disease is affecting Africa compared to other places. For this reason, a push must be made for eradication of Malaria in Africa as well. Though there has been some decrease in Malaria cases over the past decade, Malaria can be decreased much further with the more widespread use of Insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs). ITNs provide a barrier to outside mosquitoes, lowering incidence for those with access to them. These insecticides must be re-treated on nets however, as they lose effectiveness over the year.“Over the past 15 years, coverage of ITNs in Sub-Saharan Africa has increased from 2 percent in 2000 to 56 percent in 2014” (USAD 54). Though this is a large increase from the past, the cost of producing and maintaining an ITN yearly for one person is only $2.20. With such a low price, it would be expected that all nets were retreated properly; however this is not the case as “fewer than 5 percent of the nets used in Africa are properly treated (USAD 56). As the price is so low, ITNs should be easily available to all those in Africa as they lower incidence for all those in the region as mosquitoes lose their source of food. Arguing against these facts proves difficult, especially as these effects can be seen extending into more areas.

Though might argue that countries shouldn’t need to spend their money on helping Africa, the price is so low for one person, that it wouldn’t be a problem for an advanced country such as the United States to take action. One theory suggests that “Africa’s gross domestic product would be nearly one-third higher if malaria alone had been eliminated several decades ago” (Infectious Disease and National Security 10). Part of Africa’s low GDP today is believed to be an effect of the presence of Malaria. If action had been taken in Africa by the Global Malaria Eradication Program back in the 1960s, Africa could be seeing more economic success then it is today.

When living in a first-world country, people begin to disregard all other countries that are not their own. This can be seen with Africa as many just ignore the fact that Malaria is destroying the lives of a multitude of people. It is wrong of a country to simply ignore those in distress, so action must be taken by those with the power to make a difference. By not completely eradicating Malaria, countries are just accepting it to be something that lives alongside people, but this is unacceptable. Many believe that Malaria need not be worried about as it doesn’t directly affect them.

So the question is why should we care? As mentioned previously, by not eradicating, resisting, or funding Malarial control, innocent people are dying. In the past many different countries have worked together to achieve eradication. Upon completing this, they completely forget their duty is now to help those in need. By not helping Africa, they are breaking their moral duty, which is to repay their “debt”. As they were once in need of help, it is now their turn to assist those places that need it. Not only is it wrong to not help countries that need it, it also destroys families there.

Having children proved to be a difficult and scary task for those in Africa. Imagine being a parent in Africa, and always having to live in fear of your child dying of Malaria. Of the 438,000 deaths due to Malaria, “70 percent of the deaths were in children under five years of age” (USAD 48). This can really harm families as some parents could live their whole lives with their children dying at such a young age. Would you want to have to come home every day, knowing that your son had a high chance of being affected by Malaria? Imagine coming home to see your son with flu-like symptoms. You decide to ignore it, it’s just the flu right? Over the next 2 weeks you see his symptoms continuing, worsening, and damaging his very being. When you decide to take action, it’s already too late, and antimalarials wouldn’t be effective at this point. You cry as this is your 4th child to have been killed by Malaria. If you had access to an ITN or cheaper antimalarials, this would never have happened. This can be possible, though it would take the joint effort of multiple powerful countries as Malaria is a very widespread problem over the whole continent of Africa.

To conclude, Malaria must be addressed by those in power since it has serious consequences. In addition to causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, it has devastated the economy of Africa by lowering the GDP of the continent. Those countries which have today eradicated the disease need to support Africa as they were once in need, and it is now their moral duty to help Africa. By letting the disease ravage Africa, families become wrecked as children under the age of 5 are more likely to die. For these reasons action must be taken to aid Africa in its time of need, now.

Works Cited

Academic Decathlon Science Resource Guide. 2017.

Cecchine, Gary, and Melinda Moore. Infectious Disease and National Security: Strategic Information Needs. 1st ed., Santa Monica, CA; Arlington, VA; Pittsburgh, PA, RAND Corporation, 2006. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/10.7249/tr405osd.

“Fact Sheet: World Malaria Day 2016.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, 20 Apr. 2016, www.who.int/malaria/media/world-malaria-day-2016/en/.