Part 9: Malaria – a poverty-associated disease

What do tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/AIDS have in common? The so-called "big three" belong to the poverty-associated diseases", which means that the spread of these infectious diseases is clearly linked to poverty.


In the last blog post you could already learn more about what poverty is and how it limits the possibilities to get medical care.


But poverty also leads to people living in conditions that make them sick. For example, homelessness, cramped living conditions or poorly built houses are among such conditions, since the conditions for protection against the penetration of the Anopheles mosquito are not given under such living conditions. This is a factor, but also a lack of hygiene standard, such as unclean water in which mosquitoes lay their eggs or inadequate sanitation is another reason for the spread of malaria.

Furthermore, it has been proven that there is a link between poverty, malaria and nutrition. Statistically, children from 0 to 5 years of age are most often affected by malaria, because only then is the immune system built up to such an extent that they can live with the flare-ups. However, if the children are malnourished, then they have a weakened immune system and can do little to counter the flare-ups. If the infection is nevertheless overcome, then consequences such as anaemia, epilepsy, underweight and other neurological difficulties threaten. This can severely impair the intellectual development of the children. Malaria can interrupt school attendance or lead to a reduction in productivity at work/absenteeism.

In summary, it is a vicious circle: poverty increases the risk of malaria infection. A malaria infection in turn increases the likelihood of poverty.


Sources:

Bmbf (2015). Armutsassoziierte Krankheiten - Malaria, Dengue-Fieber & Co. accessible at: https://www.gesundheitsforschung-bmbf.de/de/armutsassoziierte-krankheiten-malaria-dengue-fieber-co-3270.php[28.08.2022].

IGP Magazin (o. J.). Diagnose und Therapie. Malaria in Afrika – ein Teufelskreis aus Krankheit und Armut. accessible at: https://www.igp-magazin.de/malaria-in-afrika-ein-teufelskreis-aus-krankheit-und-armut/[28.08.2022].

Planet Wissen (2018). Malaria – Kampf gegen Malaria. Verfügbar unter: https://www.planet-wissen.de/gesellschaft/krankheiten/malaria/pwiekampfgegendiemalaria100.html[28.08.2022].

Reset (2010). Wenn Armut krank macht. Verfügbar unter: https://reset.org/wenn-armut-krank-macht/[28.08.2022].

WHO (2021). Malaria. Verfügbar unter: https://www.afro.who.int/health-topics/malaria[28.08.2022].