Knowing malaria first step in prevention
World Malaria Day will be celebrated internationally this Saturday, 25 April. The official ceremony in Namibia, however is on Friday 24 April in Opuwo, administrative capital of the Kunene Region. Namibians are celebrating the day under the theme “Invest in the Future: Defeat Malaria.”
This theme, chosen by the global health partners for the period 2013 to 2015, calls attention to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) in 2015 and to defeat malaria making Namibia a malaria-free country.
Coming out with strong support for World Malaria Day, local pharmaceutical company, FabuPharm Products, said it is supporting awareness initiatives by sharing facts about Malaria and tips of how to prevent it.
“Unfortunately, no vaccine exists for malaria. Therefore, it is important for all Namibians to educate themselves on the occurrence and prevention of malaria,” stated Fanie Badenhorst, Director: Research and Development at FabuPharm.
Characteristic symptoms of malaria are similar to that of diarrhoea or flu.
Those are typically a high fever with shivering fits, headache and aching limbs, and severe sweating and dizziness. Incubation for the disease is four to six weeks.
“If you have visited a high risk area and start experiencing flu-like symptoms visit your doctor immediately,” said Badenhorst.
In southern Africa Malaria is second only to HIV/AIDS in causing illness and death. In Namibia, malaria mainly occurs in the northern regions. High risk areas are in the river meadows of the north, northeast and northwest.
The Kaokoveld, Etosha National Park, Otavi Mountains and Bushmanland are areas of medium risk. The risk is small in the area between Otjiwarongo and Windhoek, while the coast, the Namib Desert and the south are basically risk-free.
“Although several prophylactic medicines can be taken as a pre-caution, these medicines sometimes have side effects such as nausea, illusions and upset stomachs. Therefore, many people rely on the best protection, which is avoiding mosquito bites altogether,” said Badenhorst.
This can be achieved by wearing protective clothing, sleeping under a mozzie net, and using an insect repellent. Employing all three protective measures is most effective.