By Marie Kauna – EMTV Online
World Malaria Day is witnessed on April 25 each year to recognise the efforts invested into the fight against malaria and to recommend initiatives that contribute towards spreading more awareness on the disease around the world.
Established in 2007, global health communities have continued to engage in awareness initiatives and policies to bring more awareness to the global population on what malaria is, its impacts and ways on how malaria can be treated and avoided.
In the World Malaria Report 2017 released in November 2017, an estimated 218 million malaria cases were recorded from the 91 countries in 2016. The statistics have shown an increase of five million malaria cases, a big jump from that of 2015. This increase although was significant, the death records remained the same with that of 2015. This was a result of continuous time, efforts and funds invested into achieving this result.
Papua New Guinea like other global health communities is also part of the larger community affected by the disease. In recent times, reports have shown a significant drop in malaria cases reported plus the death records. According to a report by the World Health Organisation PNG, the malaria statistics has dropped from 400 per 100,000 to 200.
This, according to a logistician for Rotarian Against Malaria, Tim Freeman, the significant drop was a result of group efforts invested by DoH, the WHO and others in partnership, driving the fight against malaria, to see a world free of malaria. Freeman said the group efforts invested were not wasted but have shown improvements in the statistics thus signifying a positive feedback going forward.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill at the 2018 Malaria Summit London held alongside the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London last week, thanked partners and those involved in the fight against malaria in PNG, and made a commitment to enhance regional efforts to combat the disease in the country.
With this year’s theme ‘Ready to Beat Malaria’, more emphasis is now diverted into awareness initiatives to bring out vital information to the people, to educate them about the disease while developing general knowledge that malaria is not good and should be taken seriously.