PH endemic for malaria, WHO says

-Marjorie Duran, Nina Uy

The Philippines is one of 10 countries that are endemic to malaria with 900 reported deaths in 2010, World Health Organization (WHO) said yesterday.

Studies show that Malaria was estimated to take the lives of 216M people worldwide and kills 655, 000 yearly.

Other countries included in top ten are Cambodia, China, The Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, The Republic of Korea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Vietnam.

WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific, Dr Shin Young-soo encourages Western Pacific countries to fight malaria through the use of simple insecticide-treated mosquito nets that has been proven to decrease child deaths by around 20% and malaria cases by half.

Studies suggested the use of malaria control tools, including access to effective prevention, accurate diagnosis and prompt and reliable treatment could save more lives.

“Successful malaria control improves not only the health of people living in high-risk areas, but also their productivity and overall well being,” Shin said.

Malaria is a curable but life-threatening disease transferred to people through infected mosquito bites. It is transmitted by female Anopheles mosquitoes which are capable of malaria transmission.

WHO celebrated World Malaria Day 2012 last April 25 with this year’s theme, “Sustain Gains. Save Lives. Invest in Malaria” to promote people’s awareness and emphasize that half the world’s population is at risk for malaria.

“National malaria programmes need to ensure widespread population access to life-saving and cost-effective interventions,” Shin said.

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