Global and Tanzanian status

Parasitic diseases affect billions of people around the world every year. This causes not only major public health problems, but it also places a high level of economic burden on countries.


Malaria globally

300 to 600 million people globally are infected with malaria and between 1.5 to 2.7 million sufferers eventually die from this disease.
The most common cause of death is from the P. falciparum species of mosquito, which causes up to more than 2 million deaths. There are also 400 million cases of the species p. vivax mosquito.
Malaria is considered endemic in 90 countries across the globe, with 90% of malaria caused mortality taking place in Africa. Within sub-Saharan Africa, malaria is the biggest killer for children under five years old.
As well as bringing health burdens to the countries that are endemic with malaria, this debilitating disease also causes economic burdens. At the beginning of the century, this burden in sub-Saharan Africa was estimated at $12 billion annually.

(Garcia, 2010;Breman et al., 2007)


Malaria prevalence in Tanzania

Currently, Malaria is the second largest cause of morbidity in Tanzania and is still a major public health concern. 14- 18 million cases are reported annually in Tanzania and the level of malaria mortality is thought to be 120,000. This places a heavy burden on the health care system, as such a high percentage of patients are admitted to health facilities suffering from malaria and more money is spent on treatment.
Economically, it is thought that this situation is also placing a burden upon Tanzania. Recent research has identified that malaria can cost Tanzania up to $240 million annually in gross domestic profit.

(WHO, 2000)

Schistosomiasis globally.

Schistosomiasis is thought to affect 207 million people globally, with 700 million individuals at risk of infection. Out of those infected it is thought 120 million are symptomatic and 20 million are suffering from severe disease.
The most prevalent area of sufferers is Africa, with 85% of all infected with schistosomiasis living there. The most at risk areas are sub-tropical and tropical areas where levels of sanitation are low.

(Chitsulo et al., 2000;WHO, 2010)

Schistosomiasis in Tanzania.

Schistosomiasis has been found in all 21 regions of Tanzania and often co-exists with malaria and hookworm. Tanzania has high rates of schistosomiasis and the most at risk groups are school children, adolescents, fisherman, farmers and women of child bearing age. To combat this in young children the UKUMTA (The Tanzanian Partnership for Child Development) was developed to carry out research to help reduce the risk of infection in school children .

(Lwambo et al., 1999;Massa et al., 2009;Lansdown et al., 2002)

Hookworm globally.

Hookworm is still a global cause for public health concern, particularly in tropical areas of the world. This infection is one of the most common diseases in the world and can affect up to 600 million people worldwide.
More affluent countries are now seeing a decline in the incidence rate of hookworm, with China particularly noticing a decrease in the number of cases being reported. This has been linked to the increase in economic growth of the country.
The highest prevalence rate is now seen in sub-Saharan Africa. DALYS (Disability Adjusted Life Years) where first developed to measure the burden of hookworm disease in 1990 and have estimated up to 22.1million DALYs in sub-Saharan Africa. By using the DALYs hookworm has been said to be the second most important parasitic diseases, the first being malaria.

(Hotez et al., 2006;Hotez et al., 2008)

Hookworm in Tanzania.

The highest prevalence of hookworm in Tanzania is found within sufferers aged between 5- 14 years old.
Until 2003, there had never been a national intervention programme to cope with the burden of this disease, so rates of infection increased. However in 2003, the Tanzanian National Plan gained funding by the Schistomiasis Control Initiative to develop a national programme. A school based deworming initiative which was directed at 5 million children in areas at high risk was created.

(Kabatereine et al., 2006)

Below is a publication by the WHO of their global plan to combat neglected tropical diseases.