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Malaria case management - Essay Example

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WHO (2000) estimates that about one million people die annually in the world from malaria. Moreover, it is among the leading causes of illness in the globe, especially in tropical regions (WHO 2009). Although malaria infection is one of the leading causes of death in the world, it is treatable and manageable condition…
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Download file to see previous pages Eradicating malaria in the world is one of the top priorities of global health organisations and is a key objective of attaining universal health related targets stipulated in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) (United Nations 2010). Consequently, both developed and developing countries have reinvigorated efforts to combat the disease that has remained a serious threat to health and wellbeing of people across the world for a long period. Currently, policies to control and prevent malaria infections form an important component of public health systems and primary care services play a pivotal role in their implementation. Some of malaria control and preventive measures include application of insecticide treated bed nets to prevent human contact with mosquitoes, indoor residual spraying with efficient insecticide and eradicating mosquito breeding habitats (Mathews 2011). Other measures include use of anti malarial drugs to treat the infection in all segments of affected population, including pregnant women and HIV/AIDS patients in addition to maintaining sustained malarial surveillance across the world (Mathews 2011). These policies have enhanced management and treatment of malaria in primary care service. However, before investigating impacts of government policies in management and treatment of the condition in primary care, it is important to explore the symptoms and causes of malaria and how they inform nursing practice. Causes and symptoms of malaria Malaria is a vector borne disease transmitted by female anopheles mosquito. The causative malarial parasite is a protozoan of genus plasmodium (MacDonald 1997). There are five major species of malarial parasites responsible for transmission of malaria. They include Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium malariae, Plasmodium ovale and Plasmodium knowlesi. However, plasmodium vivax and plasmodium falciparum are the most important causes of malaria infection in the world (MacDonald 1997). The initial symptoms of malaria infection are not specific and demonstrate remarkable resemblance to signs of a minor systemic viral disease (WHO 2009). The symptoms include fatigue, headache, fatigue and lassitude, normally followed by abdominal, muscle and joint pains. These symptoms are accompanied by fever, anorexia, chills, profuse sweating and vomiting. These signs are the major defining characteristics of malaria infection at the early stage (WHO 2009). People in regions where malaria is endemic are usually knowledgeable about these symptoms and consequently, incidences of self diagnosis are prevalent. Achan et al (2011) noted high incidents of malarial over diagnosis in primary care services especially in malaria endemic regions based on the demonstrated symptoms. According to Brieger (2009), the severity of malarial symptoms varies depending on the type of parasite involved. Infection by plasmodium vivax and plasmodium ovale demonstrates more pronounced symptoms of fever and chills than other malarial species. However, fatality rate at early malaria infection is rare but it increases when treatment is delayed and on prescription of ineffective drugs (Brieger 2009; WHO 2009). Delaying treatment of ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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