Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Alternative: Malaria

Malaria is currently one of the world's largest public health problems, especially in poor undeveloped areas. With global temperatures increasing and local climates changing because of carbon emissions, it is likely that there will be more breeding grounds for mosquitos, resulting in more malaria cases.

Malaria can be deadly, but the sickness and malaise caused by the disease create unmeasurable losses to local economies due to missed work days and loss of investment in a region. Most people who actually die of malaria are children or people with weakened immune systems. Malaria is curable, but only if treated promptly and requires access to drugs and health care. Prevention methods remain the best way to avoid malaria. Preventative drugs are expensive and mosquito habitat destruction and insecticide spraying require organized, time-consuming efforts.

One of the cheapest, most effective ways of preventing malaria in poor regions with weak infrastructure is the distribution of insecticide-dipped mosquito nets. Education and efforts to make treatment drugs more available and affordable can also help.

While a vaccine has not yet been discovered, options are being tested and researched. Some organizations participating in global malaria control (Roll Back Malaria, Malaria Foundation International) have suggested that putting more funds towards malaria efforts and less towards AIDS could save more lives with less money.

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