Jakarta, IO – Extreme heat swept through multiple regions in Indonesia recently. The heat is generally accompanied by an increase in the mosquito population. Therefore, the Ministry of Health warns the public to be wary of both dehydration and mosquito-borne diseases, especially malaria and dengue fever.
“A study of the mosquitoes that cause dengue fever shows that, with the current increase in the Earth’s temperature, the hotter it gets, the more actively stinging mosquitoes are. Naturally, this also applies to malaria vector mosquitoes, which generally appear from dusk to dawn,” declares dr. Imran Pambudi, MPHM, Ministry of Health’s Director of the Prevention and Control of Communicable Diseases, in the “Time to Deliver Zero Malaria: Invest, Innovate, Implement” virtual press conference commemorating World Malaria Day, held on Tuesday (02/05/2023).
Malaria is an infectious disease caused by the Plasmodium parasite, which lives and breeds in human red blood cells. They enter the human body by means of the sting of the Anopheles mosquito. There are five types of malaria-causing Plasmodium, which might trigger complications or even death if treated late: Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium ovale, Plasmodium malariae, and Plasmodium knowlesi.
“Malaria may attack people of any age – babies, children, teens, adults, the elderly. Its general symptoms include fevers, shivers, headaches, muscular pains. Prevent it by controlling its disease vector – that is, keep your immediate environment clean, and by using mosquito nets when you sleep. When you are leaving the house at night, please try to wear trousers and long-sleeved shirts,” dr. Imran said.
Preventing Infection in Pregnant Mothers
According to the Ministry of Health data, 55,525 malaria cases were recorded from the start of the year to 27 April 2023. Previously, 443,530 cases were recorded in our country throughout 2022, with the highest number of incidences occurring in the Provinces of Papua, East Nusa Tenggara, and West Papua, respectively. 318 regencies and townships have been declared malaria-free up to 2020, and the Ministry seeks to increase this number to 405 regencies and townships by 2024.
However, there are multiple challenges that prevent quick elimination of malaria, including: uneven commitment in funding malaria elimination programs; remote geographical parts of our country, especially in Eastern Indonesia; less than optimal and integrated mitigation of disease vectors across the country; and lack of continued availability of anti-malarial medication.
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“Malaria mitigation requires commitment from all our regions, to ensure that we achieve the target of eliminating the disease in our country by 2030. An effective means of accelerating the mitigation of malaria cases is prophylaxis, or infection prevention, b y administering relevant drugs to pregnant mothers. Another is proper training for malaria elimination cadres in highly endemic regions and among special populations vulnerable to the disease, and of course, early detection training for health workers,” dr. Imran said. (est)