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Tackling malaria

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In our first issue, we are going to be talking about malaria. And why that so simple and curable disease, continues to cause distress, and death around the world. I would like to share with you an experience, That I as a junior doctor, working in Papua New Guinea, fifteen years ago, came across. A young girl, who was diagnosed with malaria at one of the local health clinics, had walked over fourteen miles with her mother, to come and seek help. But by the time she had got to the hospital, it was too late. The malaria had infected her bloodstream, and gone to her brain. Causing her to have convulsions, I tried to intubate her to help her breathing, I tried to get access to her veins, so that I could give her drugs. I tried to resuscitate her. But after thirty minutes of futile effort, I found a girl who had died in my arms. Malaria, effects around two hundred and forty million people around the world. Eighty five percent of who are in sub Saharan Africa. Malaria, is caused by a parasite, plasmodium falciparum, Which enters the bloodstream from the infected mosquito, multiplies in the liver, and then goes to the other organs of the body. Prevention is simple, the use of mosquito nets when sleeping, the spraying of mosquito breeding grounds, and the use of preventative medicines, in particularly infectious areas. But to deploy these techniques, requires national coordination. It requires a stable political infrastructure, and it requires channels, for health organisations to get into the infected countries, to do the necessary. getting everybody understanding how beneficial, the simple use of a five dollar mosquito net can be. Getting local governments to organise and mobilise, the spraying of breeding grounds. And getting the big pharmaceutical companies, to fund and allow equitable access, to cheap and affordable drugs, that can cure malaria. Malaria kills enough people, to severely effect the education of the young, and the workforce. So curing the disease, would not only help their health, but ensure long term economic prosperity. The world health organisation issued a report in 2008, that showed that the majority of countries, that adopted their measures over the past four years, have seen a fifty percent drop in malaria cases. And this is witnessed across the Americas, South East Asia, and in the middle east, the United Arab Emirates was the first ever country since the 1980's, to declare itself a malaria free zone. With a concerted effort, there are a lot more countries that could join this list. and we have to play particular focus, to sub Saharan Africa. So I go away, with hope in my heart, that no other Doctor, in future years, will have to deal, with such a tragic case. Where another child dies from malaria when we could have put our heads together, and our hearts into action, and cured this most curable of diseases.

Video Details

Duration: 2 minutes and 58 seconds
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
Views: 100
Posted by: bupa2 on Aug 8, 2013

Despite all the progress made in medicine, one tiny parasite continues to kill hundreds of thousands every year. Dr Sneh Khemka, medical director of Bupa International, asks why malaria is still such a problem. For more information go to

This video has been produced by Bupa International and is intended for general information only. This video does not replace the need for personal advice from a doctor or medical practitioner.

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