Malaria in Africa Tom Stoddart Archive/Getty Images

Von Malaria lernen

BERLIN – Es ist eine der besten nicht erzählten Geschichten aus den Annalen der Entwicklungshilfe: es wurden großen Fortschritte im Kampf gegen Malaria erzielt, einer Krankheit, die einst weltweit eine Epidemie und bis vor kurzem noch immer eine Plage der Entwicklungsländer war. In den vergangenen 15 Jahren konnten mehr als sechs Millionen Leben gerettet werden. Noch besser sogar, die Erfahrungen aus diesem Erfolg können – und müssen – auf andere große Entwicklungsherausforderungen angewendet werden.

Malaria wird durch Parasiten verursacht, die durch Mückenbisse übertragen werden. Selbst in einem leichten Fall kann das Ergebnis Fieber, Schüttelfrost, grippeähnliche Symptome und Anämie sein. Dies ist besonders für schwangere Frauen und Kleinkinder gefährlich. Die Krankheit kann zu lebenslangen geistigen Behinderungen führen und kostet Schätzungen zufolge Milliarden von Dollar an Produktivitätsausfall jedes Jahr.

Malaria war früher auch in Europa weit verbreitet, vom warmem Italien bis hinauf in den hohen Norden, ebenso in weiten Teilen der Vereinigten Staaten. Die Erfindung des Insektenvernichtungsmittels DDT sowie preiswerte Arzneimittel haben den reichen Ländern geholfen, die Krankheit nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg praktisch auszumerzen. Sie bleibt verbreitet in armen Ländern.

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