Effects of malaria

Malaria leads to the deaths of a large number of children aged under five. Adults with malaria are too weak to work which leads to a loss of productivity or to them not being able to produce enough food for their family. Therefore they remain poor and do not have a lot to eat which makes them more vulnerable to disease.

A country's limited resources are used up in health care rather than in education or improving services which hinders development. Tourists may be less likely to visit a country with malaria so there is less money from tourism.

Strategies adopted to manage malaria

Preventions for malaria

A vaccine to cure malaria is still in the early stages of development so most methods are concerned with prevention and focus on either the host (human), or the vector (mosquito).

Treating the host

Treating the vector

  • Insecticides,eg Malathion/DDT.
  • Draining breeding grounds.
  • Flushing out of dams.
  • Genetic engineering to sterilise male mosquitoes.
  • Planting eucalyptus trees to soak up water.
  • Larvae eating fish, eg guppies/muddy loch.
  • Mustard seeds in ponds to drag larvae below the surface and drown them.
  • BTI, a pesticide treatment through coconuts destroy the stomach lining of larvae.

Organisations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) have launched campaigns to eradicate malaria using insecticides and drugs. They also conduct research into finding ways to cure and prevent malaria.

Aid agencies such as the Red Cross provide emergency medical care through short-term aid and also help provide training and education in primary health care to improve overall health in malarial regions, a more long-term aid strategy.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was set up by the founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates, and his wife, to provide funding to try to find a cure for malaria.

Effectiveness of strategies

  • Drugs – expensive and parasites are building up a resistance.
  • Insecticides – expensive, Malathion stains yellow and has an unpleasant smell. May also pollute the environment.
  • Draining breeding grounds – impractical, they refill when it rains, and impossible to drain all breeding grounds. A puddle/tin can is enough water for mosquitoes to breed in.
  • Flushing out of dams – defeats the purpose of a dam which is to store water. Water may also be in short supply.
  • Planting eucalyptus trees – effective at soaking up water but can soak up water needed for farmland.
  • Larvae-eating fish – they cannot eat all the larvae but do provide a source of protein.
  • Mustard seeds – large quantities needed which is expensive, but mustard seeds are environmentally friendly.
  • BTI coconuts – control ponds for up to 45 days and coconuts are cheap and plentiful.
  • Mosquito nets – cheap and effective.
  • Education – effective but it only takes one mosquito.
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