Ran Ro(Public Relations Officer)
“In 2015, there were 212 million new cases of malaria and 429,000 deaths.
One child dies from malaria every two minutes”
-World Malaria Report 2016-
Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people mostly through the bites of infected mosquitoes. Derived from two medieval Italian words ‘mal’ and ‘aria’, malaria means bad air. Before the discovery of the parasites, people thought the disease came from foul air, associating it with marshes and swamps. Since the prehistoric period, malaria has bothered people, often leading them to death, by accompanying symptoms like acute fever and headache. In order to highlight the need for continued efforts and commitment for malaria control, the World Health Assembly instituted World Malaria Day in May 2007. It was first initiated as Africa Malaria Day across the African continent in 2000 after 44 malaria-endemic states at the African summit on Malaria signed the Abuja Declaration.
Today, Malaria is preventable and curable with advanced medical treatments. The malaria burden, however, is still remaining in many countries, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa. According to the World Malaria Report 2016 recently released by WHO, it infected more than 200 millions of people, while taking away more than 400,000 people’s lives. As a part of sustained investment in preventing the disease, KOICA(Korea International Cooperation Agency) implemented numerous projects in the developing countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar, etc.
More detailed information on the World Malaria Report 2016 can be found in the following page:
<WHO/ Sven Torfinn>
About 97% of the population in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is located in the southern part of sub-Saharan Africa, are living in regions with high risks of infection from malaria. To prevent the local residents suffer from malaria, KOICA actively engaged in the projects for eliminating malaria in the Bandundu Province, Congo, from 2009 to 2010. Following the successful implementation of the previous projects, KOICA extended the project areas from 2 to 5. In 5 health zones, mosquito nets, diagnostic kits for the detection of malaria, and 21 types of medical supplies were provided for free with the scale of 1.43 million USD. In addition, KOICA proceeded to promote local awareness of the prevention of malaria by delivering health education through 2,700 health care volunteers dispatched from Korea.
<KOICA Volunteers Distributing Medical Supplies to Local Residents in the Democratic Republic of Congo>
Mosquitoes are merely irritating and bothersome for some people. In the meanwhile, they are an absolute menace for those living in vulnerable environments. The global theme for 2017 World Malaria Day is “End Malaria for Good”. To realize the vision into a reality, it is important for all of us to keep working on this unfinished agenda, at the same time contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals such as improving maternal and child health.
<Infographics for Malaria Prevention by WHO>