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Focus on Malaria:War on Malaria:Let's address causes not effects.

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  • Josephat Ndibalema
    Malaria which kills more than 3,000 African children every day,was the focus of the African Malaria Day celebrated on April 25.Its theme highlighted progress
    Message 1 of 1 , May 6, 2007
           Malaria which kills more than 3,000 African children every day,was the focus of the African Malaria Day celebrated on April 25.Its theme highlighted progress and challenges in the global fight against this deadly disease.
           This year, in Tanzania, Malaria Day was nationally marked in Bukoba region.The day was marked with a lot of optimistic promises.But history has a different story to tell,and we haven't even seen the end of the tunnel.Who knows that we are not addressing the cause of the problem but its effects?
            It is not a war that grabs the headlines;yet,it has claimed untold millions of human lives.It is  not a war fought with bombs and bullets;yet,in terms of misery and lives lost,it surpasses those that are.
            It is a scene that has been repeated thousands of millions of times.The result has been misery and death on a colossal scale.Undoubtely,malaria is acruel and relentless enemy of the humankind.
            One of the cardinal discoveries in the war against malaria was made,not by the great scientists of Europe,but by a British Army surgeon based in India.Scientists and doctors of the 19th century,in harmony the thinking of the previous two  thousand years,assumed that people caught the disease by breathing foul swamp air.
             In contrast,Dr.Ronald Ross believed the disease was transmitted from a person to person by mosquitoes,Even after it was known that Malaria involved parasites in the  human blood stream,researchers continued searching for clues in the air and water of swampland.Meanwhile,Ross searched the stomachs of mosquitoes.
               Considering the primitive lab equipment he had to work with,looking into stomachs of mosquitoes was not an easy thing to do.As he worked clouds of mosquitoes and gnats swarmed around him,determined,according to Ross,to avenge themselves 'for the death of their friends.
                At last,on Friday,August 16,1897,Ross discovered,in the stomach walls of the anopheles mosquito,spherical organisms that had grown in the size overnight.They were malaria parasites.
                According to 'Encarta Encyclopedia' c 2004,Ross wrote in his notebook that he had unlocked the secret that would save "a myriad men".
                His discovery was a milestone in the war against malaria,one that helped open the way for humankind's first major offensive against the disease and the insects that carry it.
                Throughout most of history,humankind's losses to malaria have been sustained.Egyptian hieroglyphics  and papyri testify to malaria's carnage  1,500 BC,according  to the history of Antiquity World {pg 56}.
                 It ravaged beautiful lowland cities of ancient Greece and cut down Alexander the Great in his prime.In the crusades,the American civil war,and the two world wars,it killed more men than did many major battles.
                 Defences against the mosquito,but not knowingly against malaria,span the millenniums.In the 16 century BC,egyptians used the oil of the tree 'Balanites wilsoniana' as a mosquito repellent,says 'Encyclopedia Britanica,vol 3'.
      Josephat Ndibalema[Member of  Uyoga community]     

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