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Winning the Malaria War Without Vaccines

Posted by: thomas mountain

Date: Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Winning the Malaria War Without Vaccines

For over 10 years now Eritrea, a small country in East Africa, has
been winning the Malaria War without vaccines, though much work
remains to be done. Since 2005 I have been monitoring the reduction in
Malaria mortality here in Eritrea and have seen a consistant reduction
of between 70-80%, something almost unknown in Africa and the rest of
the 3rd world for such an extended period.

Eritrea’s victories in the Malaria War have been done via old
fashioned barefoot doctors distributing and maintaining insecticide
treated mosquito nets through out the malaria belt in Eritrea.

Many countries have handed out millions of insecticide treated
mosquito nets donated by the likes of the World Bank (51% owned by the
USA) only to see the insecticide wear off in 3 months and the nets
loose more than half their effectiveness. If you have ever slept under
mosquito nets for very long you will find that sooner or later you end
up with a hole in the net or touching the net while sleeping. It only
takes a couple of minutes for that nasty critter Aegypti species to
smell you out, work its way through the hole or bite you right through
the net and voila, you got malaria. Only treated nets prevent this
with the insecticide keeping the mosquitos from getting near the net..

So you have to re-treat your mosquito nets every three months to keep
winning the malaria war, something Eritrea has been fighting to do for
over a decade now. Here in Eritrea if the people in the malaria belt
don’t bring their nets in for treatment every three months the
barefoot doctors go to them and make sure it gets done. This
commitment to basic public health is a hallmark of a socialist country
and Eritrea, like Cuba, is at the forefront in doing so despite
limited resources.

The other major advance Eritrea has led Africa in is the development
of a community network of clinics that can diagnose and provide the
right medicine for the type of malaria afflicting the patient.

There is presently a network of clinics such that most of the people
in the malaria belt can reach one within 3 hours by foot.

It isn’t complicated and doesn’t take an expensive vaccine or
continously less effective prophylactics with nasty side effects, just
old fashioned public health, like in barefoot doctors winning  the
malaria war in Eritrea. It is long past time that the bureaucrats with
their fat salaries sitting behind desks at the World Health
Organization offices in Geneva, Switzerland started to recognize this.
To win the Malaria War, Instead of pushing expensive vaccines, they
should be pushing barefoot doctors, a program proven to work for over
a decade now here in Eritrea.

Thomas C. Mountain is an independent journalist in Eritrea, living and
reporting from here since 2006. You can see his speeches, interviews
and articles at Facebook at thomascmountain or best reach him at
thomascmountain at g mail dot com

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