Ending Malaria for Good – World Malaria Day 2016

Is it possible to end malaria in a generation?

According to a 2015 report from the United Nations and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (From Aspiration to Action-What Will It Take to End Malaria) eradicating malaria by 2040 could be possible. The World Health Organization (WHO) has already set targets to reduce global malaria cases and deaths by at least 90% by 2030. Ending the disease globally would save approximately “11 million lives and unlock an estimated $2 trillion in economic benefits” (endmalaria2040.org).

We have seen what concerted action can achieve. Between 2000 and 2015 the global malaria mortality rate was reduced by 60% and an estimated 6.2 million lives were saved as a result of a scale- up of malaria intervention (rollbackmalaria.org). Additionally, 57 countries achieved reductions in new malaria cases of at least 75% (WHO).

Factors contributing to these successes were the expansion of effective tools to prevent and treat malaria, such as treated bed nets, diagnostic testing and antimalarial medicines. Continued investment in these areas as well as in monitoring structures and research in vaccines and insecticides is required to achieve the end of malaria. As the Global Fund reminds us that “gains remain fragile. If efforts are neglected, malaria could resurge within just one infectious season” (globalfund.org).Malaria day 3

SWHAP partners working in malaria endemic areas include malaria prevention and control initiatives within their workplace HIV and wellness programmes. These programmes are run through HIV and wellness committees with representatives from both management and employees and interventions include; distribution of treated bed nets, testing opportunities and access to treatment through workplace wellness days, environmental programmes including access to safer water, clean-up campaigns and outreach to communities. Programmes raise awareness on the links between HIV and malaria (malaria increases HIV viral load) and on the gender dynamics of malaria. Gender norms that affect the division of labour and sleeping arrangements can lead to different patterns of exposure to mosquitoes for men and women. There are also gender disparities in the accessing and use of malaria interventions.

On 25 April SWHAP partners joined the global community in commemorating World Malaria Day through events to mobilise against malaria. In Zambia, Scania Hazida provided testing for employees and family members. After an awareness session on malaria the company distributed malaria prevention kits. In Kenya, employees at Shreeji Chemicals did their bit to keep malaria in the conversation. Peer Educators organised a malaria awareness raising session for employees during their lunch break. Information was shared on the prevention strategies for malaria and how to recognise the signs and symptoms of the disease. Peer Educators at Raffia Bags in Kenya sprayed the environment around their offices to protect against malaria.

Spraying to prevent malaria at Raffia Bags in Kenya

Spraying to prevent malaria at Raffia Bags in Kenya

Raising awareness at Shreeji Chemcals in Kenya

Raising awareness at Shreeji Chemcals in Kenya

Providing opportunities for malaria testing for families at Scania Hazida in Zambia

Providing opportunities for malaria testing for families at Scania Hazida in Zambia

Malaria Key Facts

  • In 2015, there were 214 million cases, and 438 000 deaths from Malaria
  • 2 billion(almost half of the world population) are at risk
  • In 2015, 97 countrieshad on-going malaria transmission
  • US$ 5.1 billion is needed every year, double the funding available

Source rollbackmalaria.org

Read more about malaria and gender

http://www.rollbackmalaria.org/files/files/about/SDGs/RBM_Gender_Fact_Sheet_170915.pdf

Halt the Rise Beat Diabetes- World Health Day 2016

Halt the Rise Beat Diabetes- World Health Day 2016

Diabetes affects 350 million people worldwide. According to the World Health Organization diabetes is also “more than just a health issue”. It has economic consequences, creating an economic burden on society due to the costs of treatment and decrease in productivity as a result of absenteeism or disability.

The World Health Organisation and the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimate that the diabetes population in Africa will double over the next 25 years. The main cause for this sharp increase is being attributed to increased urbanisation with sub-Saharan Africa being the most affected region. Urbanisation is associated with, the adoption of diets high in fat, sugar and salt as well as decreased regular physical activity and obesity. The complications of Type 2 Diabetes which include heart disease, stroke, blindness, amputations, and kidney failure are expensive to treat but can largely be avoided through early detection, treatment adherence and lifestyle changes. Education and prevention are thus key in addressing diabetes and the private sector is in a good position to help.

What can the workplace do to help employees and their families?

  1. Share information on the causes, prevention and treatment of diabetes at the workplace.
  2. Provide opportunities for testing at the workplace for employees and their families through, for example wellness days.
  3. Provide follow-up support for those employees that have been diagnosed with diabetes or those considered at risk for diabetes.
  4. Help employees address the modifiable risk factors of diabetes through encouraging more active lifestyles and workplace nutrition programmes.
  5. Have in place workplace policies that protect the rights of employees and programmes in place that address discrimination and the gender differentiated health needs of all employees.

Addressing the modifiable risk factors of diabetes is also of benefit to those affected by other communicable and non-communicable diseases including HIV as preventative steps in relation to nutrition and lifestyle changes can assist in keeping the immune system healthy. Additionally there are some HIV medications that may increase the risk of diabetes underscoring the importance of prevention programmes.

World Health Day observed on 7 April each year celebrates the founding of the World Health Organization in 1948.  Each year a theme is chosen to raise awareness on a specific public health concern.  For more information, access the World Health Day Resources here.

Read more about HIV and diabetes here

Programmes do not have to be costly. Ulrich Seats in South Africa encourages physical activity at the workplace through lunch time social soccer and a weekly "Social Walk" that also promotes better interaction between management and employees.

Programmes do not have to be costly. Ulrich Seats in South Africa encourages physical activity at the workplace through lunch time social soccer and a weekly “Social Walk” that also promotes better interaction between management and employees.

As part of their community outreach activities last year HemoCue Kenya in partnership with a local organisation conducted awareness and testing for diabetes at Strathmore University reaching 1360 staff and students of the University. This figure represented a 400% increase in the numbers tested in previous years. Providing opportunities for testing is important as 62% of people in Africa remain undiagnosed and are at a higher risk of developing complications (International Diabetes Federation).

As part of their community outreach activities last year HemoCue Kenya in partnership with a local organisation conducted awareness and testing for diabetes at Strathmore University reaching 1360 staff and students of the University. This figure represented a 400% increase in the numbers tested in previous years. Providing opportunities for testing is important as 62% of people in Africa remain undiagnosed and are at a higher risk of developing complications (International Diabetes Federation).