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Malaria Prevention and Treatment in India: Strategies to Combat the High-Risk Areas

Pathkind Team 2743 Views
Updated: 30 Nov 2023
Published: 28 Jun 2023
Malaria Prevention and Treatment

Malaria is a potentially life-threatening disease caused by parasites (plasmodium vivax, plasmodium falciparum, plasmodium malaria, and plasmodium ovale) that are transmitted through the bite of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. The vectors typically breed in rainfall pools and puddles, borrow pits, river bed pools, irrigation channels, seepages, rice fields, wells, pond margins, and sluggish streams with sandy margins. Usually, extensive breeding is seen in the monsoon season.

In many areas of the nation, malaria is a problem for the public's health. About 95% of the population in the country lives in malaria-endemic regions, and 80% of malaria cases reported there are restricted to those areas, where 20% of the people live in tribal, hilly, challenging, and inaccessible areas.

Malaria can result in serious health issues, including death and permanent organ damage if it is not properly treated. If you suspect you have malaria or have recently traveled to a region where it is common, it is imperative that you get treated right away. Early intervention for treatment has a significantly higher rate of success.

Symptoms Of Malaria

  • Common flu-like symptoms of malaria include fever, headache, vomiting, and nausea.
  • Anemia, fits or convulsions and loss of consciousness are all caused by the parasite's infection and destruction of red blood cells, which also causes simple exhaustion.
  • Blood carries parasites to the brain (causing cerebral malaria) and to other crucial organs.
  • Pregnancy-related malaria poses a serious risk to the mother, the fetus, and the newborn child. The fetus suffers when pregnant mothers are less able to fight against and recover from malaria infections.

Symptoms of severe and complicated malaria may include lethargy, breathing difficulties, severe anemia, and an inability to drink. 

Treatment of Malaria 

Particularly if you have the parasite P. falciparum, malaria can be a potentially fatal condition. Usually, a hospital is where the disease is treated. Depending on the kind of parasite you have, your doctor will recommend a course of treatment.

Due to parasite drug resistance, the prescribed medication may occasionally fail to treat the infection. If this happens, your doctor may need to treat your condition with more than one medication or a different medication entirely.

The long-term prognosis for malaria patients who receive treatment is typically favorable. The prognosis might not be as promising if malaria-related complications develop. Brain damage from cerebral malaria, which swells the brain's blood vessels, is possible.

Malaria Prevention

malaria prevention

  • Apply mosquito repellent
  • Drape mosquito netting over beds.
  • Put screens on windows and doors.
  • Treat clothing, mosquito nets, tents, sleeping bags, and other fabrics with insect repellent.
  • Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts to cover your skin.
  • The surface of the water may be coated with oils. The pupae and larvae are suffocated as a result. Kerosene or vegetable oil can be used for the same purpose.
  • Have fogging done in your area before the rainy season arrives, and repeat the process at regular intervals. The mosquitoes that may be hiding in places are helped by fogging.
  • Avoid letting water collect in coolers, tiny pits, or tires. These are conducive environments for mosquito development. It is best to make sure that storage areas don't have any standing water. If it rains, you should clean the surroundings immediately.

All these methods will effectively help you in malaria prevention as prevention is better than cure!

What is being done to combat the high-risk areas?

Malaria in urban areas was not identified as a threat as it was confined to mega towns only and was seen as manageable by the local authorities. While the measures taken by the government brought down the cases in rural areas significantly, the cases in urban areas were high. Thus, it was decided to launch the Urban Malaria Scheme to take control of malaria.

The objectives of the UMS are to reduce the number of cases in the area and also prevent transmission and morbidity.

These are the following control strategies adopted under the UMS to take control of malaria:

Control of parasites: Treatment is provided by passive institutions, such as private practitioners, hospitals, and dispensaries, in both the public and private sectors. In megacities, every health sector and malaria control organization, including municipal corporations, railroads, and the armed forces, has established malaria clinics.

Vector control comprises the following components

  • Source reduction
  • Use of larvicides
  • Use of larvivorous fish
  • Space spray
  • Minor engineering
  • Legislative measure

Malaria, if left untreated, can cause fatal damage to your organs. Thus, if you experience any symptoms, consult a doctor and get tested!

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