While studying abroad in Ghana, Silvestri explains how she contracted malaria, despite taking precautions including taking preventative medicine and sleeping under a mosquito net. Silvestri says having malaria is “very similar to the flu,” with aches and fevers. She sought medical attention and received treatment which should have treated the malaria within one week, thanks to the availability of artmesinin-based combination therapies (ACTs). Sadly, Silvestri received sub-standard drugs, a tragic reality for some individuals, and the disease continued to progress, creating headaches and intense muscle and joint pain, “kind of like being beaten with a lead pipe,” she explains.
Thankfully, Silvestri recovered from the disease, but her experience illustrates what many individuals living in malaria-endemic areas face each day. Malaria is a threat to their everyday lives and, though treatments exist, the lack of knowledge of the disease, lack of availability of ACTs in some areas or the possibility of receiving sub-standard drugs mean that nearly 800,000 people die each year from this preventable and treatable disease. With access to resources, we can prevent these deaths. Thanks to leadership from governments, corporations and NGOs, we are closer to ending malaria deaths by 2015.
The post originally appeared on the Malaria Policy Center blog. To read more posts from their blog, visit them here.