In Africa, a child
succumbs every 30 seconds to malaria.
Combine that with this news and you have a possible recipe for disaster.
On a related note. Have you ever heard about Neglected
Tropical Diseases (leprosy, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis,
soil-transmitted helminths, and trachoma)?
These diseases, which are considered to be related to extreme poverty, affect
several hundred million people, and kill at least half a million annually, and
yet they garner little attention, or funding, from donors, policymakers, and
public health officials who only seem to have eyes for The Big Three (AIDS,
TB and Malaria).
But, as one researcher said: Controlling
Africa’s neglected diseases is one of the more convincing ways to ‘make
poverty history’ through affordable, pro-poor, effective, and tested strategies.
The cost would be negligible, a mere 40 cents per person per year, compared
with a minimum of $200 per person per year to treat HIV/AIDS, $200 to treat
a single episode of TB, and $7-10 to treat a single episode of malaria.
Controlling these NTD’s could have a proportionately greater impact on
more poor people’s health as well as being more equitable for the majority
of Africa’s poorest and marginalised communities.
Time for less rhetoric and more
[Posted By BurningMonk]
By Richard Black
Republished from the
Rising temperatures may partly explain increasing cases of malaria
in regions of Africa, new research suggests.
Temperatures in East African highlands have risen by half a degree
Celsius in the last 50 years, scientists found.
Writing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS),
they say this small rise may have doubled the number of malaria-carrying mosquitoes.
Malaria has recently emerged in parts of the highlands, with climate change
one possible explanation among many.
The new research relies on a fresh analysis of temperature data for four highland
locations in western Kenya, southwestern Uganda, southern Rwanda and northern
“Previous researchers had analysed the same sites and not found evidence
for warming,” said Mercedes Pascual from the University of Michigan in
Ann Arbor, US.
“So we revisited it with a longer data set and longer analysis up to
2002,” she told the BBC News website.
“We found there has been a rise of about half a degree Celsius over 50
years, but we see it mainly from the end of the 1970s to the present.”
Fitting the pattern
In recent years malaria has emerged or re-emerged in several parts of the East
African highlands, where temperatures are many degrees cooler than in low-lying
Factors considered as possible explanations include increasing movement of
people, rising resistance to anti-malarial drugs, and decreasing quality of
Climate change has also been proposed as something that could affect the Anopheles
mosquitoes which transmit the malaria parasite, either through higher temperatures
or increased rainfall.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the global body which collates
scientific information on the extent of climatic shifts and their impacts, said
in its 2001 report: “Future climate change may increase transmission in
some highland regions, such as in East Africa.”
The new research integrates temperature changes into a computer program which
models the mosquito population.
For a half-degree rise, the model predicts that mosquito numbers would rise
by between 30% and 100%.
“The impact comes from the effect of temperature on their time to development,”
said Dr Pascual, “and then more weakly on the lifetime of the adults –
but it’s mainly the accelerated rate of development.”
In lowland areas where mosquitoes are abundant and malaria endemic, such an
increase would probably have a marginal effect on rates of infection.
But in highland areas, where the insects are much scarcer, it is likely to
be a key factor affecting transmission rates.
“Our results do not mean that temperature is the only or the main factor
driving the increase in malaria,” concluded Dr Pascual, “but it
is one of many factors that should be considered.”