Helping to keep malaria at bay
November 6 was several years ago set aside to commemorate Malaria Day in the Americas. The intent of this day is to promote awareness and recognize efforts that have been made and those that are still being made to reduce the prevalence of malaria – a mosquito-borne infectious disease.
Malaria is deemed by many heath sectors in the Americas, Guyana’s included, as perhaps the vilest of mosquitotransmitted diseases, since it has the potential of claiming an untold amount of lives if left unattended.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has long established that malaria is a lifethreatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. But the early symptoms of the disease such as fever, headache, chills and vomiting could be mild, and therefore at times difficult to recognise, even by health workers trained to do so. Based on information from the WHO, in 2015 there were 95 countries and territories that had ongoing malaria transmission, thus resulting in a situation whereby 3.2 billion people – almost half of the world’s population – were at risk of malaria. If not treated within 24 hours, Plasmodium Falciparum or P. Falciparum, one of the known parasites that cause malaria in human beings, can progress to severe illness often leading to death. But malaria is very preventable and curable, according to the WHO.
Moreover, the local health sector has not left this disease to roam rampant. In fact, measures are continually being derived to improve the malaria fight. But the number of cases being reported today by the Vector Control Services Unit of the Ministry of Public Health is still far too many. However, Guyana will be well on its way to true success in the malaria fight when endemic areas – Regions One, Seven, Eight, Nine, and to a lesser extent 10 – report no more than 30 cases per month. This is the hope of someone who has been in the forefront of the malaria fight for many years – Mr. Keith Moore. According to Moore, currently cases are reported in the thousands. Although Moore was a mere young man with an unclear plan for his future when he first joined the Health Ministry’s malaria program many years ago, today he is a septuagenarian with vast experience and immense hope that Guyana will one day be able to eradicate malaria altogether.
It is not at all surprising that because of his in-depth knowledge of combating the disease, the health sector is even today seeking after his expertise. In fact it is for this very reason that Moore is being recognized as a ‘Special Person’ on an auspicious day set aside to recognize the gains made in the fight against malaria. He has been instrumental in helping to set up a number of program to reduce the cases of malaria. Even today he has the passion to continue to save lives. He recently completed an untainted malaria coordinating stint with Global Fund, and is already preparing to delve into yet another with the Ministry of Public Health to continue his malaria fighting crusade. (Kaieteur news)