The limitations of current malaria treatments in sub-Saharan Africa
Current malaria treatments are ineffective in sub-Saharan Africa due to problems beyond the disease. Approximately 90% of malaria mortalities occur in sub-Saharan Africa, and 77% percent of these are children under the age of five. At the same time, sub-Saharan Africa is also the recipient of 80% of international aid. With international malaria funding increasing in recent years, there must be an analysis on the practicability of funded interventions as malaria continues to be a tremendous burden in the region. This review highlights the complexity of malaria pathology and its association with poverty that makes treatments ineffective. Available, frontline antimalarial drugs and insecticides have shown increased resistance that has spread throughout many malaria endemic regions. This resistance aggravates the disease as the parasite and the vector evolve, resulting in increased transmission, increased severity of symptoms, and a high risk of mortality. In addition, the heavily funded malaria vaccine under development by GlaxioSmithKline and PATH shows partial efficacy that languishes over time, putting to question the practicability of such heavily funded interventions. The limitations of available treatments necessitates a holistic approach that responds to the economic state of endemic regions in order to effectively alleviate the burden of disease. An example of a holistic approach is the Multisectoral Action Framework for Malaria. This approach considers the socioeconomic development and fragile markets of endemic nations to encourage partnerships between governments and healthcare sectors in eradicating malaria. Although it will take years to demonstrate results, the burden of malaria calls for sustained efforts to alleviate the burden of the disease along with the poverty that perpetuates it.