World Malaria Day is globally seen on April 25. This yearly international observance is an effort, to bring awareness about malaria, its treatment and preventive measures, highlighting the requirement for better governmental and societal intervention in malaria control and prevention.
The current year’s theme for World Malaria Day is ‘End Malaria for Good’, says Aun Raza, Consultant Infectious Diseases and Medicine, Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre (SKMCH&RC) while talking to media on World Malaria Day.
He said: “Malaria is a very common infectious disease that has existed in humans since many centuries claiming millions of lives. It prevails through Plasmodium parasite which transfers into human body through bite of Anopheles mosquitos. Such infected mosquitos transfer malaria germs into healthy people through their bite. High fever is the most common symptom of malaria along with cold, shivering, headache, nausea or vomiting. However, its symptoms can be different if not treated properly.”
Emphasising on strict preventive measures to avoid malaria, Dr Raza was of the opinion that: “The citizens of such countries where malaria is not common, should take proper medicine before traveling to countries where it is common. However, such preventive measures are not so effective in countries where malaria is common. In a country like Pakistan, the use of net or thin cloth, a centuries old traditional way of avoiding mosquito bite is more effective during night time. Besides, it is also very important to keep your home, workplace, markets, shops and streets clean. Keepyour environment dry as static water is the breeding place of mosquitoes. Mosquito season has started in Pakistan and people should be more careful not only for themselves but also for other members of the family especially children. As a number of mosquito killer sprays and lotions are available nowadays, thus their use at night time is recommended.”
He said: “Although medical scientists are exploring new ways to avoid malaria through vaccination, but still no such vaccine has been discovered. However, we can hope that it may be possible in the future. Till then, it is more important to take preventive measures, rather than medicine.”
Dr Aun Raza also briefed the media about the facilities for diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases at SKMCH&RC.
“Although malaria has no direct link with cancer, but a cancer patient can become victim of malaria and it can turn into an alarming situation for a blood cancer patient. The hospital is equipped with all the necessary facilities, latest medicine and top professionals in this regard. It is not important for malaria patients to be admitted in the hospital. Besides treatment, we also educate patients and their families about preventive measures.” He said.
He further added: “Malaria is 100 percent curable. However, if left untreated, it can turninto a severe type, in which case the patient might feel extreme dizziness, shocks, low sugar, kidney failure and break down of blood cells which can further lead to coma or even death.”
In his message to people in public on World Malaria Day, Dr Aun Raza said cleanliness a vital part of our faith as a Muslim, as it not only beautifies the environment, but also plays an important part in the eradication of many infectious diseases such as Malaria. Our society needs serious awareness efforts in this regard. Health is everyone’s concern and every citizen needs to put in effort to make our country clean and free from disease for the sake of our future, he added.