malaria testing Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images

Acabar com a Malária

JEDDAH – Há muito que a malária é uma das doenças mais assassinas da nossa era. Dados da Organização Mundial de Saúde demonstram que metade da população mundial está em risco. Mas perto de 90% dos casos de malária e 92% das mortes por malária ocorrem apenas numa região: a África Subsaariana.

A Europa e a América do Norte vivem completamente livres de malária. Mas as crianças na África Subsaariana sofrem frequentemente episódios múltiplos da doença até atingirem os cinco anos de idade. E 70% das mortes relacionadas com a malária acontecem com crianças como menos de cinco anos. As mulheres grávidas que contraem a doença podem sofrer complicações graves de saúde.

A boa notícia é que a luta contra a malária tem ganho ímpeto ultimamente, com as infecções a diminuírem de forma constante na maior parte dos locais, e as mortes relacionadas com a malária a caírem 29% desde 2010. Este progresso pode ser parcialmente atribuído a inovações, nomeadamente a testes rápidos de diagnóstico que funcionam em minutos, a medicamentos anti-maláricos mais acessíveis e económicos, e ao uso crescente de redes mosquiteiras tratadas com insecticidas de longa duração (RILD). O maior envolvimento da comunidade também ajudou, com músicos populares, organismos de comunicação social e líderes religiosos a defenderem acções mais vigorosas contra a malária.

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