Let’s stop Malaria from damaging our lives and nation

PNG is one of only three malaria-endemic countries within the Pacific Region and bears about 98% of the malaria burden in the Pacific Region (MMV, 2015). Malaria incidence is 151 cases per 1,000 people in PNG in 2013 (2014 PNG Health Sector Performance Annual Review), 38.5 deaths due to malaria per 100,000 people (2012 WHO PNG Statistical Profile).

 

An average of 1.5-1.8 million suspected cases of malaria are seen at healthcare facilities annually (Country Health Information Profiles – WHO). This high incidence of malaria is not only affecting the quality of people’s life but also adversely affecting the revenue generation in the country because of huge man-hours lost due to Malaria.

 

The Challenges

 

According to a Fides news service report, approximately 90% of the population of Papua New Guinea is at risk of deadly malaria. Mosquitoes, which are the vectors of the disease, are prolific in the rain-soaked, hot and humid climate of the country.  Poor regulatory power,  ineffective delivery structure, drug-resistant parasites, the lack of an effective health system, the diverse spread of PNG’s population are all challenges to malaria control in PNG. The PNG National Department of Health (NDoH) National Malaria Control Strategic Plan 2014-2018 is determined on achieving and sustaining universal coverage and access to malaria control interventions. The goal is to achieve a reduction in the malaria burden in PNG (MMV, 2015).

 

The funding to enable the implementation of this Plan has been under significant review for some months between the PNG Government, NDoH Malaria National Technical Working Group and the Global Fund.

 

The financial algorithms to wipe away the scare of Malaria

 

  • With 98% of funding from Global Fund, a sum of 26 million USD was spent to control Malaria in the year 2013.
  • The financial resources provided through the Global Fund come from many donors, from Australia, the United States and the European Union. The grant agreements embody a partnership with Papua New Guinea and Rotarians against Malaria, Population Services International and World Vision, who will implement the programmes. The two grants, for a combined total of USD32 million, will be used to fund distribution of 2.8 million mosquito nets and training of community health workers.

Programmes to eradicate the spread of Malaria in PNG

 

  • Papua New Guinea introduced a new national malaria treatment protocol (NMTP)with the recommendations of the World Health Organization. NMTP introduced artemether-lumefantrine (AL) as the new first-line treatment for uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine was also introduced as the new second-line treatment for uncomplicated P. falciparum and P. vivax malaria.
  • The Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research (PNGIMR), as a sub-recipient in the Global Fund (GF) Round 8 Malaria Grant to Papua New Guinea (PNG), was contracted to provide a range of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) activities in support of the PNG National Malaria Control Programme, 2009-2014.

Know more about Malaria

 

What is Malaria?

 

Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by the parasite Plasmodium with symptoms of high fever along with shaking chills and anaemia. When an infected mosquito bites you, you can be infected with malaria.

 

There are 5 species of Plasmodium that infect people with malaria.

 

  • Falciparum
  • Vivax
  • Malariae
  • Ovale
  • Knowlesi

 

Of these P. Falciparum and P. Vivax cause life-threatening malarial complications.

 

How is malaria transmitted?

 

When a mosquito bites an infected person, it carries malarial parasites and then spreads the disease to healthy people through its bite. The malaria parasite lives in the bodies of people and mosquitoes. The malaria parasite is generally transmitted to people by mosquitoes. In some cases, a person may contract malaria through contaminated blood during blood transfusion, or infected needles. In pregnant women, malaria may be transmitted from a mother to her fetus.

 

What are the symptoms of Malaria?

 

Common symptoms of malaria include:

 

  • Shaking chills High fever
  • Profuse sweating
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Anaemia
  • Muscle pain
  • Convulsions
  • Coma
  • Bloody stools

Life-Threatening Complications of Malaria

 

  • Cerebral malaria: The complicated malarial symptom includes seizures with fever caused by swelling of blood vessels in the brain or cerebral malaria.
  • Pulmonary edema: Malaria can cause accumulation of fluid inside lungs causing breathing problems or pulmonary edema.
  • Organ failure: Malaria can lead to organ failures of kidney, liver and spleen.
  • Severe anaemia: The destruction of red blood cells results in anaemia and low blood sugar.

Measures to prevent malaria

 

  1. Use mosquito repellents : Use insect sprays containing pyrethroids in all your living and sleeping areas, especially during evening and night hours.
  2. Avoid travelling to mosquito-infested regions: Talk to your doctor about anti-malarial drugs in case of travelling to these regions. Stay safe at nights – Use nets and repellents
  3. Try to avoid sleeping outside where mosquitoes are more like standing water (tyres, lakes, waste dumps). Use bed-net impregnated with insecticides
  4. Check the net is not damaged and ensure it is properly tucked underneath your mattress. Keep the windows and doors with additional nets attached to it. Keep the air-conditioning on, as mosquitoes tend to stay away from cool, air-conditioned rooms.
  5. Go for long sleeves and light colours: Wear long sleeve shirts and trousers in evening and at night. Lesser the skin exposed, the better. Wear light coloured clothes in order to increase the protection.
  6. Eradicate mosquito-breeding areas like stagnant water in your surroundings.

Role of PIH to End Malaria for Good

 

PIH being the nation’s “Best Hospital” strives to bring down the count of malaria cases, by promoting extensive community awareness programmes and regular health checks. The hospital encourages people of PNG to get early diagnosis and prompt treatment for malaria is treatable, curable and preventable with early intervention. It is important for patients to take medications as prescribed and complete the treatment course.