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World Malaria Day: “Zero Malaria Starts With Me”, Keep Fighting Amid the Pandemic

World Malaria Day is celebrated on April 25 every year. In 2018, there were 27 countries that reported less than 100 cases of malaria, increasing from 17 countries in 2010. Algeria, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uzbekistan had received malaria-free certificates two years ago. Although there are many countries with low malaria cases, there are still many Sub-Saharan and African countries that have high malaria rates. Not only in Africa, but countries in other continents also have cases of malaria, including Indonesia. Even more, in recent years, the decrease in malaria cases has been fairly permanent. This means that returning to the path that aims to continue progressing to reduce the number of malaria cases is urgently needed.

Every year the World Malaria Day campaign runs very well, but this year’s celebration is different. 2020 commemoration is a challenge for malaria prevention activists and health workers because the prevention efforts are carried out in conjunction with COVID-19 prevention. Health workers are required to use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and wash their hands more often when they work with the community. Modifying the prevention plan is also needed to minimize coronavirus exposure.

The World Health Organization (WHO) also added that it is not recommended for countries that still have malaria cases to delay or temporarily stop the malaria prevention activities because it will have an impact on increasing the number of cases. This was previously experienced when an outbreak of the Ebola virus hit the countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. At that time, the malaria prevention program was stopped and as a result, the morbidity and mortality caused by malaria increased rapidly in these three countries.

The theme of World Malaria Day 2020 is “Zero Malaria Starts With Me”. Through this commemoration, WHO continues to try and campaign for policymakers, the private sector, and all elements related to malaria prevention to work together so that there will be no more people infected with malaria in the world.

The Summit Institute of Development (SID), through the Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) project, participates in malaria control which began in November 2019 in Manokwari, West Papua. RDT has generally been used on a massive scale for rapid screening or disease detection. Accurate measurement of RDT is very important for disease control and patient care. SID uses the open standard RDT, a modified version of RDT, with embedded information on RDT, that can be identified and recorded using an application on a smartphone.

The use of the RDT open standard will be accompanied by the RDT Open Reader application on smartphones to reduce input errors and support interoperability in health information systems. In addition, this RDT can be used for DNA extraction to identify the strains of malaria parasites. This is important to track the source of malaria transmission in a community. The entire program of the RDT that is currently carried out by the SID is to prevent a rapid increase in cases and deaths from malaria caused by delaying efforts to control malaria in a pandemic.

Let’s act together to eradicate malaria, starting with yourself. Happy World Malaria Day, Zero Malaria starts with me!

Writer: Ardina Ulya Editor: Iqmi Qaisah Ali, Mazidatun Maftukhah, Iffa Karina Permatasari, Irza Husmelinda Contributor: Iffa Karina Permatasari, Satya Sadhu Translator: Mazidatun Maftukhah

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