Malaria has become an uncommon and unheard of disease in many parts of the world after it was categorised as an endemic in countries like Europe in the 1970’s – but this was only achieved due to the socio-economic developments, adoption of new agricultural methods, and access to quality healthcare in Europe & other parts developed parts of the world.
Today, malaria is a preventable and treatable disease, but sadly, around the world, many communities still face the brunt of its impact due to a lack of access to quality healthcare. Malaria is the world's most deadly tropical mosquito-borne parasitic disease that kills around 1M+ people and affects the lives of 1B in under-resourced countries throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America (UN Chronicle). Around 3.2B people worldwide are at risk of malaria.
How does climate change impact this?
Primarily, climate change is considered as the biggest threat to healthcare worldwide (WHO). Though many organisations worldwide have been working to eradicate malaria in affected countries and some progress has been made, climate change is not only putting more lives at risk but also undoing all the progress that has been made so far.
Global warming doesn’t only make the world hotter, but rather, the increase in temperature induces erratic climate patterns. Tropical countries like Malawi, often regions that face intense heat waves and monsoons, are also the bearers of a large number of malaria cases. This is because variations in climatic conditions (i.e., a combination of rainfall and humidity caused by the heat) serve as great conditions for mosquitoes to breed and develop. This results in increased malaria transmissions, which will become even harder to control in low-resourced regions and vulnerable communities residing there. Importantly, these are e also the same people who contribute the least to climate change and have limited access to socio-economic resources and healthcare.
How can you help?
For starters, you can start by engaging in more climate-friendly behaviours and activities that can help keep global temperatures down. The most important thing to recognise whilst keeping up with sustainable and climate-friendly practices is to understand that we all have a responsibility to this planet, considering it provides us with everything we need. Your actions as a single human being also count and help make a difference, though it may not always be obvious. Second, donate and support charities and organisations that are truly making a difference. For example, donations to our Life Saving Fund enable us to serve those most in need through low-cost, high-impact solutions. Just £1 can provide life-saving treatment such as antibiotics, malaria tablets, and rehydration care to vulnerable patients who would not be able to survive without this medication and support. Every donation, no matter how big or small, saves lives.