Today, we observe World Mosquito Day to commemorate British doctor Sir Ronald Ross‘s discovery in 1897 that female mosquitoes transmit malaria.
Malaria is a serious disease transmitted to humans through mosquitos. It causes fever, chills, and other flu-like symptoms. If left untreated, it can be life-threatening. In 2018, there were an estimated 228 million cases of malaria and 405,000 deaths worldwide. World Mosquito Day 2020 aims to raise awareness about the causes of malaria, its symptoms, and effective interventions.
One of the most effective malaria-prevention interventions in high-burden countries is to sleep under a long-lasting insecticide-treated bed net, designed to physically block and kill mosquitoes. In 2007, the WHO recommended that all countries purchase and provide LLINs to their people at no or low cost. Even with significant financial backing from governments and international development organizations—such as the Global Fund, the USAID-led President’s Malaria Initiative, and the World Bank—after approximately 25 years since their development, only half of the population in malaria-endemic areas of sub-Saharan Africa are sleeping under the nets.
We believe it is critical to understand the reasons for modest uptake and to identify opportunities for increasing use among all high-risk populations. The world must accelerate the development and uptake of life-saving interventions particularly in low- and middle-income countries. To that end, GHIC systematically analyzes factors that support or hinder the introduction and scaling of interventions through its Launch and Scale Speedometer initiative.
We will share findings from our research on LLINs in publications this fall here.
While this year’s World Mosquito Day is focused on malaria, mosquitos carry a number of other serious illnesses. Mosquitos cause more death and disease than any other creature on the planet. Take a look at the bigger picture here.