BY M.A. EGGE
Somalilandsun – It may not be immediately and expressly understood nor realized, but the truth of the matter is that bomb shells have been dropped as concerns our health and what its future may portend.
As it has been revealed by Ministry of Health’s confirmation, the number one killer in the eastern African region in particular, just as in the rest of the tropical and equatorial areas, the deadly malaria disease is here with us and it has just made its entry with a bang.
The THT takes a particular interest in the case since the ministry revealed the emergence of the disease last week because what fathoms quite well is what it really is all about, as far as its pathogenesis and its prognosis (or outcome) entails;- thus, it is indeed a bombshell.
This is even more serious given the fact that Hargeisa and Somaliland at large has forever been practically a no-malaria-zone; that is, until now.
The greatest concern for this is the fact that the populace has largely not been accustomed to the disease such that it is the THT’s fear that most may not acknowledge the impact of the disease’s repercussions.
Many common folks have been witnessed asking themselves whether infections of malaria can be contacted through contaminated water, air or vectors.
The author who sought confirmation yesterday from Marodijeh regional health coordinator as to whether the phenomenon is indeed happening for the first time ever is merely not being an alarmist herein, but indeed only sounding a strong blare of horn to underpin what is imminent on the part of the future of our health.
The coordinator Dr. Seyid Ismael Osman who toured the affected areas says that at least two dozen cases have been formed in Malukta, Dawga and Shan-tuulo centers of Daresalam district.
Similarly, 22 cases have been confirmed in Gebiley’s vicinity of Agabar according to its regional health coordinator Isse Sheikh, who also last night, reassured DMG that there were’nt any new fresh cases.
Given that 3.3 billion people in 106 countries are personally at risk of malaria, it is no wonder that the WHO had earmarked the 25th of April each year in commemorating the Malaise (world Malaria Day).
It is of course an extra-highly notifiable disease. With an average of 270 million cases reported annually hence almost a million deaths (reportedly) confirmed pa, we should acknowledge what the malaria “bombshell”surely entails.
SL has hitherto not been an ongoing-transmission case, let alone hosting its epidemic for once, but a completely free-zone in a highly susceptible area.
Now that it is here, SL has not only to “Roll Back” malaria, but must surely nip it at the bud.
It is quite notable that people from poor countries are the most affected. Understandably, health workers from the affected areas would converge at the city to be acclimatized on the handling of the disease (whether on patient treatment or prophylactic measures to be adopted) under WHO’s auspices, but the truth is a major pubic campaign is a must in order to contain the plague. (Please see editorial).
What is Malaria?
Malaria is a life-threatening disease. It is typically transmitted through the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. Infected mosquitoes carry the Plasmodium parasite. When this mosquito bites you, the parasite is released into your bloodstream.
Once the parasites are inside your body, they travel to the liver, where they mature. After several days, the mature parasites enter the bloodstream and begin to infect red blood cells. Within 48 to 72 hours, the parasites inside the red blood cells multiply, causing the infected cells to burst open. The parasites continue to infect red blood cells, resulting in symptoms that occur in two-to-three-day cycles.
Malaria is typically found in tropical and subtropical climates (e.g., Africa) where the parasites can live. The World Health Organization estimates that between 300 and 500 million cases of malaria are diagnosed each year (WHO). The disease kills 1 million people annually. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 1,500 cases of malaria are reported each year (CDC). Most cases of malaria develop in people who travel to countries where malaria is more common.
What Causes Malaria?
Malaria can occur if a mosquito infected with the Plasmodium parasite bites you. In addition, an infected mother can pass the disease to her baby at birth. This is known as congenital malaria. Because malaria is transmitted by blood, it can also be transmitted through:
an organ transplant
shared use of needles or syringes
What Are the Symptoms of Malaria?
Symptoms of malaria typically develop within 10 days to four weeks following the infection. In some patients, symptoms may not develop for several months. Some malarial parasites can enter the body but will be dormant for long periods of time. Common symptoms of malaria include:
shaking chills that are moderate to severe
How Is Malaria Diagnosed?
Diagnosis of malaria is made by your doctor. During your appointment, your doctor will review your health history, including any recent travel to tropical climates. He or she will also perform a physical exam. Your doctor will be able to determine if you have an enlarged spleen or liver. If you have symptoms of malaria, your doctor may order additional blood tests to confirm your diagnosis. These tests will show:
Whether or not you have malaria
What type of malaria you have
If your infection is caused by a parasite that is resistant to certain types of drugs
If the disease has caused anemia
If the disease has affected your vital organs
Life-Threatening Complications of Malaria
Malaria can cause a number of life-threatening complications that can result in death. The following may occur:
Swelling of the blood vessels of the brain (cerebral malaria)
Accumulation of fluid in the lungs that causes breathing problems (pulmonary edema)
Organ failure (kidneys, liver, or spleen)
Anemia due to destruction of red blood cells
Low blood sugar
How Is Malaria Treated?
Malaria is a life-threatening condition. Treatment for the disease is typically provided in a hospital. Your doctor will prescribe medications based on the type of parasite that you have. In some instances, the medication prescribed will not be effective. Drug-resistant parasites have been reported. These parasites make many drugs ineffective. If this occurs, your doctor may need to change medications or use more than one medication to treat your condition.
What Is the Long-Term Outlook for Patients That Develop Malaria?
Patients with malaria who receive treatment typically have a good long-term outlook. If complications arise as a result of malaria, the outlook may not be as good. Cerebral malaria, which causes swelling of the blood vessels of the brain, can result in brain damage. The long-term outlook for patients with drug-resistant parasites may also be poor. In these patients, malaria may recur. This may produce additional health complications.
Tips to Prevent Malaria While Travelling
There is no vaccine available to prevent malaria. If you are traveling to an area where malaria is common, talk to your doctor. He or she may prescribe medications to prevent the disease. These medications are the same as those used to treat the disease and can be taken before, during, and after your trip.
You may also want to take extra precautions while traveling. Sleeping under a mosquito net may help prevent being bitten by an infected mosquito. Covering your skin or using bug sprays containing DEET may also help prevent infection.
(Additional details from agencies -Editor.)