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All the Buzz Surrounding Prevention of Mosquito-Borne Illnesses in Southeast Asia

A mosquito borne illness by the name of malaria is all the buzz in Southeast Asia. In early fifth century, malaria was, by Hippocrates, simply put as a series of inconsistent fevers and was even recorded as an aid to the decline of the Roman Empire in 470 C.E.  With the lack of resources and preventive programs, modern populations will begin to suffer if governments continue to keep a “business as usual” attitude towards disease outbreaks like malaria. With technology as advanced as our current age, illness should be no excuse for the deterioration of modern cultures. Vulnerable locations in Southeast Asia include the 7,107 island cluster called the Philippines and the coastal country of Burma as well as 91 other countries across the world.
Malaria is a fatal disease caused by the contraction of a parasites spread through the anopheles mosquito, a coastal mosquito variety. Such parasites carried by the anopheles mosquitoes go by the names of Plasmodium falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale, and P. malariae. They are most threatening in populous countries, countries lacking proper resources, and in locations with high counts of such mosquitos. Without protecting these areas from the anopheles mosquito, there will be an ongoing threat of malaria and developments of new mosquito borne diseases.
NGOs are the best bet in combating illness in poor and in populous countries. Their effectiveness has been proven in combating the HIV/AIDS crisis. Doctors Without Borders, for example, has vaccinated over 25,000 girls in the Philippines with about 90% of them receiving a second vaccination to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Vaccinations are showing the potential to be a trusty way to also prevent the spread of malaria. The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a group determined to create practical vaccinations, estimated the cost of developing a single formula for combating malaria. At the cheapest, the cost would be roughly $31 million U.S. dollars.  Pairing the work of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations with Doctors Across Borders, populations would begin to build a resistance to the fatal parasites given off by the anopheles mosquitoes.
The Global Fund is also an effective choice of NGO to battle malaria. So far, the Global Fund has saved 27 million lives whether it’s HIV, tuberculosis, or malaria. The Global Fund uses 60% of international finances to provide treatment and education as well as supplies preventative measures such as providing mosquito nets. In 2017 alone, they dropped 197 million mosquito nets and promised to designate $4 trillion for malaria research by 2030.  Unfortunately, the climate in Southeast Asia is perfect for young mosquito colonies. Studies done in collaboration with the National Taiwan Ocean University found the mixture of chitosan, a chemical derived from crab shells, and silver nanoparticles to be lethal to larvae and pupae of the coastal anopheles mosquito variety. This study shows hope for another preventive measure that NGOs such as The Global Fund can tackle and master.
The Asia Pacific Leaders’ Malaria Alliance (ALMA) uses World mosquito Day as an educational. Author Dr. Benjamin Rolfe describes World Mosquito Day as a way to “… remind governments, interest groups, businesses, and local communities that we all have a part to play in reducing the public health burden of these diseases.” By partnering Doctors Without Borders and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, vaccinations can be given to populous countries and treatments can be provided to those previously infected. To keep mosquito population low, the Global Fund can put efforts forth to develop pesticides such as the one discovered by the students of the National Taiwan Ocean University to deprive dangerous anopheles mosquitoes of livable conditions. Eliminating a “business as usual” approach to the control of malaria will give hope to struggling countries, and one less major headache for the developing countries to worry about.