December 14, 2016
A report issued by the world Health Organization (WHO) has revealed that malaria was an acute public health problem for the country and caused immense sickness and loss of lives.
The report noted that Malaria contributes to almost 40 percent of deaths of children under five years of age and that it was the cause of nearly four in ten hospital consultations country-wide.
“Malaria is an acute disease caused by protozoa of the genus Plasmodium, which is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected female anopheles mosquito. Plasmodium falciparum is the predominant cause of severe malaria in Sierra Leone, accounting for more than 90 percent of all malaria infections. Without prompt treatment, Plasmodium falciparum malaria can progress to severe illness and death,” stated the report.
According to the WHO’s 2016 Malaria Report, the country has one of the world’s highest burdens of malarial cases but has made vast progress in reducing deaths and transmission in the country.
In its December 13 release, the global health organization noted that Sierra Leone was one of the seven countries in Sub-Saharan Africa where more than a quarter of the population was infected with malaria.
It further stated that three in every ten Sierra Leoneans was infected with the disease, but noted that there has been a significance progress in malaria control, with the country achieving more than 86 percent decline in deaths between 2010 and 2015, being the highest reduction in West Africa.
“Sierra Leone has experienced substantive progress in reducing the burden and impact of malaria but there remains much more to be done to prevent new cases and save lives,” said Anders Nordström, WHO Country Representative in Sierra Leone.
Nordström called on government, communities, partners, and everyone to play an active role in reducing risks of transmission and securing timely, life-saving treatment for all.
According to Nordström, malaria was one of the biggest killers in Sierra Leone and that people should always use treated nets, keep their environment clean from mosquitos, and seek early treatment and care as soon as they have any symptoms of the disease, which include fever, headache, chills and loss of appetite.