World Malaria Day: What you need to know
World Malaria Day seems like a weird holiday, right? It should really be something more along the lines of End Malaria Day. But wait, you're asking,
"Isn't malaria cured already?"
You're not totally wrong. Malaria is completely preventable and treatable but still accounted for 445,000 deaths in 2016. The problem is, it's pretty expensive to eradicate diseases. $2.7 billion was invested in malaria control and elimination efforts in 2016, but it's going to take more like $6.5 billion every year just to reduce the number of cases by 40%.
What exactly is malaria?
Malaria is a vector-borne disease, meaning it's transmitted through bug bites. In this case, mosquitoes specifically. Symptoms include fever, headache and chills, and if it goes untreated for 24 hours, it often leads to death.
What's being done to stop it?
There are two main ways to fight malaria: prevention and treatment. Malaria prevention methods are called vector control and include things like insecticide-treated bed nets and indoor chemical sprays. Treatment includes rapid diagnostic tests (to test if someone really has malaria) and Artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) (to kill the malarial parasite).
Sooo, what's the issue?
Other than funding, a major roadblock to eliminating malaria is insecticide and drug resistance. Mosquitoes and malarial parasites are building up a tolerance to current methods. Organizations from all over the world are dedicating research and development to coming up with new solutions to end malaria for good.
What can I do?
There are tons of organizations and campaigns involved to end malaria. Charities like Project C.U.R.E. and CMMB work to provide medical assistance to places where the disease has the highest burden. You can donate, or you could shop responsibly (or both!). Marc Skid underwear donates $4 from every purchase to the charity of your choice. Just pick out a pair of red undies and choose which charity you want your donation to go to.
And yeah, you bet you can make a difference. That donation would cover the cost of two life-saving bed nets. Ready to make your Marc on the world?