World Malaria Day (WMD) is an international observance commemorated every year on 25 April and recognizes global efforts to control malaria. World Malaria Day was established in May 2007 by the 60th session of the World Health Assembly.
The day was established to provide education and understanding of malaria and spread information on year-long intensified implementation of national malaria-control strategies, including community-based activities for malaria prevention and treatment in endemic areas.
Each World Malaria Day focuses on a specific theme.
Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. It is preventable and curable.
Malaria is an acute febrile illness. In a non-immune individual, symptoms usually appear 10 to 15 days after the infective mosquito bite. The first symptoms - fever, headache, and chills - may be mild and difficult to recognize as malaria.
Children with severe malaria frequently develop one or more of the following symptoms: severe anaemia, respiratory distress in relation to metabolic acidosis, or cerebral malaria. In adults, multi-organ failure is also frequent. In malaria endemic areas, people may develop partial immunity, allowing asymptomatic infections to occur.
Vector control is the main way to prevent and reduce malaria transmission. Sleeping under an insecticide-treated net (ITN) can reduce contact between mosquitoes and humans by providing both a physical barrier and an insecticidal effect.
Indoor residual spraying (IRS) with insecticides is another powerful way to rapidly reduce malaria transmission. It involves spraying the inside of housing structures with an insecticide, typically once or twice per year.
Diagnosis and treatment
Early diagnosis and treatment of malaria reduces disease and prevents deaths. It also contributes to reducing malaria transmission. The best available treatment, particularly for P. falciparum malaria, is artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT).