A few weeks ago, we noted World Health Day by discussing vector-borne diseases, and last month the theme continued in the health community with World Malaria Day on April 25th.
The event was intended to create discussion and fundraising opportunities around the prevention and cure of malaria, and this year the theme was "Invest in the future" - highlighting the importance of long-term thinking when considering the costs and methods of managing malaria infection.
While malaria is not found in the UK, America or indeed anywhere in Europe, it's still one of the world's biggest health crises, affecting almost half of the planet's population. It causes over 600,000 deaths a year, and 90 per cent of those deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa - primarily to young children. There, malaria is seen as a serious hindrance to economic development, despite treatment for the disease costing just $1 USD.
The Roll Back Malaria partnership has been responsible for recording a number of changes since World Malaria Day began, and thanks to the efforts of this and campaigns of all sizes in Africa death rates have begun to fall. Mortality rates have dropped by 42 per cent world wide as a result of malaria treatment work, and in Africa the mortality rate of young children due to malaria has fallen by 54 per cent since 2000. It's estimated that 3.3 million lives have been saved in the past 14 years.
In the same time period, four countries have been certified as malaria-free, and 26 more are well on their way to holding the same status. This is a fantastic outcome, but it's not over yet - one child still dies from malaria every minute, and around 40 per cent of the world's population live in an area considered to be a malaria risk.
Raising awareness and letting people know how they can donate to causes which support the treatment of malaria is the best thing you can do to help spread the word. Take a look at the official campaign advice to join the conversation and make your voice heard.