W6 Activity: Malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa

According to the WHO in 2015 more than 35% of deaths due to malaria were in Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Malaria is a very dangerous disease that is often the leading cause for child mortality, malaria is most common and a majority of the people who die from it are in sub-saharan Africa. Malaria might seem like the disease of a far off land but according to the CDC “about 1,500 cases of malaria are diagnosed in the United States each year. The vast majority of cases in the United States are in travelers and immigrants returning from countries where malaria transmission occurs, many from sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.” Malaria is transmitted by parasites (namely certain mosquitos) between humans. The WHO and the the CDC works with the Ministries of Health and other partners in research and fighting malaria on the front line. We learned in class this week that even though billions were spent to provide mosquito netting and hopefully reduce malaria the locals were not using them for any one of a number of reasons. If the locals who are being affected are not on board with trying to combat the disease then it will be very difficult to make any progress.

I found an article by Vinay R Kamat which spoke about some of the different problems they have encountered when working with locals in combating malaria. The article is about Tanzania and looks at problems like why mothers delay in seeking early diagnosis and treatment for their children. Another interesting issue they encountered was how mothers often exaggerate the symptoms of their children in order to obtain the best treatment. It is a very interesting article which really outlines all of the differences in culture and obstacles that they had (and have) to overcome.


“Nigeria, DRC Account for 35 Percent of Global Malaria Deaths.” Ghananewsagency.org, December 10, 2015. Accessed August 13, 2016. http://www.ghananewsagency.org/health/nigeria-drc-account-for-35-percent-of-global-malaria-deaths-98163.

“Malaria.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2016. Accessed August 12, 2016. https://www.cdc.gov/malaria/.

Bate, Roger. “Fighting Malaria: Progress and Challenges.” Www.aei.org. December 5, 2011. Accessed August 13, 2016. https://www.aei.org/publication/fighting-malaria-progress-and-challenges/.

Kamat, Vinay R. “The Anthropology of Childhood Malaria in Tanzania.” Oxford Scholarship, September 2009. Accessed August 13, 2016. http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195374643.001.0001/acprof-9780195374643-chapter-2.

One thought on “W6 Activity: Malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa

  1. It seems to me that the anthropologist journal you chose used an ethno medical approach to studying Malaria in Tanzania. They look at the culture of the medicine of Tanzania and why mother treat their kids the way they do. I do not find it surprising that mother will exaggerate the symptoms of their child to receive care for them, I feel this is a shared cultural phenomenon in many societies including ours. Malaria plagues Sub-Saharan Africa and taking the anthropologist approach can help explain why malaria has taken such a strong foothold. The climate is ideal for the spread of this disease but that doesn’t explain why our efforts to combat it has not been as effective as we have hoped. Anthropologists can explain why mothers delay finding treatment for their children or how people act towards the disease. This gives us a better understating so that medical professionals can use that information in their treatment plan for their patients. Understanding how their patient thinks and act the way they do give the medical professionals an edge in treating their patients. Gaining as many perspectives as possible on an issue is the best way to solving and explaining problems. The more information the better.

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