malaria testing Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images

Terminar con la malaria

YIDA – La malaria o paludismo es desde hace mucho tiempo una de las enfermedades más mortales que subsisten. Datos de la Organización Mundial de la Salud muestran que nada menos que la mitad de la población mundial está en riesgo de contraerla. Pero aproximadamente el 90% de los casos de malaria y el 92% de las muertes que provoca se concentran en una región: África subsahariana.

Europa y Norteamérica están totalmente a salvo de la enfermedad. Pero entre los niños del África subsahariana es común padecer varios episodios de malaria antes de alcanzar los cinco años de edad (el 70% de las muertes por malaria se produce en esos primeros cinco años), y las mujeres embarazadas que la contraen pueden sufrir serias complicaciones.

La buena noticia es que en los últimos años hubo un progreso en la lucha contra la malaria: desde 2010 las muertes se redujeron un 29%, y la tasa de infección está cayendo en todas partes. Este avance puede atribuirse en parte a diversas innovaciones, por ejemplo nuevas pruebas diagnósticas rápidas que sólo llevan unos minutos, aumento de la disponibilidad y abaratamiento de los fármacos contra la malaria, y uso creciente de mosquiteros impregnados con insecticida de larga duración (MILD). También ayudó el mayor involucramiento de la comunidad, del que da muestra el activismo de músicos populares, medios y líderes religiosos en defensa de una acción más firme contra la enfermedad.

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