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Majority of Malaria Deaths in SA for 2017 Are Children Under 10

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Recent unseasonal rain, high temperatures and humidity have led to an increase in malaria infection rates and the number of people dying from the disease.

Between 2016 and 2017, 186 people in SA were killed by malaria. Of those, 76 died this year do far. Most of the victims were children under the age of 10.

Malaria is caused by the plasmodium parasite and is transmitted by a bite from a female mosquito.

It can be fatal when not promptly treated. Some of the signs of malaria are headache, fever, sweating, loss of appetite and nausea.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) reported that between 2010 and 2015, a total of 429 000 people died of malaria worldwide.

Of those deaths, 70%, or 303 000, were children below the age of five.

To date, Mozambique has the highest number of malaria infections with 7.7 million, while SA has just 8 976 and Swaziland 651.

Limpopo has seen a proportionately higher number of infections this season, with 1 648 reported cases and three deaths. An outbreak was reported in Thabazimbi and Lephalale in the western Waterberg district in February and early March.

Mark Eldon-Edington of The Global Fund – which has been pouring money into antimalaria efforts across Africa – told The Citizen the increase in infection and death rates from malaria was due to the recent unusual weather.

The Global Fund has partnered with SA, Swaziland and Mozambique to fight malaria.

The organisation has committed R130 million to help educate people about malaria and fight the epidemic.

Last week, singing superstar Yvonne Chaka Chaka, regional ambassador for the United Nations Childrens Education Fund (Unicef), made a passionate plea to nongovernmental organisations across the globe to extend a helping hand to governments for the fight against malaria.

She said governments alone could not win the fight.

It was of vital importance for communities and the well-off to work together to fight the scourge.



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