SEATTLE, Washington — Malaria is a disease that continues to pester certain parts of the world. The disease can cause serious illness and sometimes death. It is often transmitted when a parasite infects a certain species of mosquitoes. Then, when the mosquito feeds on a person the person can then contract the virus. Due to its deadliness, there have been attempts at reducing malaria in Bangladesh in recent years.
Despite the deadliness of malaria, it is a disease that we can treat and prevent. That is exactly what has happened in the country of Bangladesh. The progress that Bangladesh has made in fighting this deadly illness is quite substantial. From 2010 to 2017, there was a 50% reduction in malaria cases along with a 54% reduction in malaria-related deaths.
Reducing malaria in Bangladesh has required many different strategies. In a study published in 2014, the Lancet Global Health found that malaria prevalence decreased among all age groups when there was increased use of insecticide-treated nets. There was a 21% annual decrease in malaria prevalence for people using insecticide-treated nets. Additionally, there was a 25% decrease in severe malaria and a 76% decrease in malaria-related death.
Malaria Education and International Support
Another method that has been essential in reducing malaria in Bangladesh has been by informing Bangladesh’s population about the disease. According to research published in 2016, Bangladesh is informing the population about malaria to prevent its contraction and spread. The study found that 97.76% of respondents were educated about malaria and 97.26% were aware that fever was a sign of having contracted the illness. Also, 25.02% of respondents were aware that mosquito bites cause malaria.
Another vitally important aspect of reducing malaria in Bangladesh has been the amount of international support the country has received. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria is one organization that has been extremely helpful towards Bangladesh. The GFATM gave grants to Bangladesh to help combat malaria in 2006 and 2009. The money helped assist the Bangladesh National Malaria Control Program in its duties. The NMCP was formed by the Bangladesh Ministry of Health along with the help of a non-governmental development agency called BRAC.
Bangladesh has made great strides in reducing malaria amongst its people. However, the country has more work to do in stopping the disease. For that reason, Bangladesh implemented its National Strategic Plan 2017-2021 to ensure it is free of malaria by the year 2030. Bangladesh first started the plan in 2017, and it has a few objectives Bangladesh must reach before it can truly eliminate malaria. Malaria is endemic in 13 of Bangladesh’s districts. Because of this, Bangladesh plans on reducing annual parasite incidence to less than 0.46 by the year 2021. Another goal of the plan is to interrupt the amount of local transmission in eight of the 13 districts.
Reducing malaria also has been beneficial for those in poverty. As recently as 2018, about 21.8% of the population was living below the national poverty line.
Malaria is especially dangerous to people in poverty because of their vulnerability. In particular, malaria occurs most often in impoverished and tropical or subtropical countries such as Bangladesh. Malaria also impacts other vulnerable groups such as children or pregnant women. This is all the more reason why the progress in reducing malaria in Bangladesh is truly an achievement. Everyone benefits from it, especially those in poverty.
Bangladesh has made great progress in combating malaria and plans on keeping its momentum against the disease.
– Jacob Lee