A Disease of Poverty
Everyone in malarial areas is at risk from the disease – almost half the world’s population live in these areas and many people travel to these regions. Malaria is also linked to poverty – people living in poverty are less able to afford access to malaria prevention tools or the effective treatment they need when they have malaria. This means they are more susceptible to catching the disease and less able to afford to treat it.
Malaria takes money from other essentials
It is estimated that in some areas, such as the Northern region in Ghana, malaria treatment costs up to a quarter of household income for poorer households. This means treating malaria takes money that could otherwise have been spent on other essentials, such as food, and contributes to keeping people in poverty. At a national level this is also the case, with malaria treatment costs and lost productivity costing Africa’s economies an estimated £8 billion each year.
Reaching the MDGs
The suffering and deaths caused by malaria affect the world’s progress towards meeting the UN Millennium Development Goals – including the goals to halve extreme poverty, reduced the number of women and children that die each year and tackle malaria and other killer diseases.
Looking to the future
Despite these barriers, there is hope. Governments are pledging more money towards controlling malaria and people are becoming better educated on why changing habits can help them avoid this deadly disease. More malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment tools including bed nets, insecticide sprays, tests and medicines are being distributed and used.