Malaria is no longer the scourge it once was due to effective preventive measures taken by the Ministry of Health. Today malaria is found in some regions of the country with high humidity and dense vegetation, but it is unlikely that you will come into contact with the anopheles mosquito that spreads the disease. Malaria prophylaxis is available at most pharmacies if you wish to take it.
From the Ministry of Health
What every family and community has a right to know about:
In areas where malaria is common, all families and communities should have access to the latest information on preventing and treating the disease.
Malaria is common in many countries especially in west, east and south Africa, south and middle Asia. Although malaria is under control in the Sultanate of Oman, it is still one of the most important health issues. Malaria was common in the Sultanate because of environmental conditions such as high temperature, humidity, rain, and stagnant water collection resulting in the breeding of Anopheles mosquitoes in many areas. Lack of awareness in the community on the prevention of malaria contributed to spread of the disease in the past.
Malaria is under control in Sultanate of Oman as a result of a successful campaign during the last two decades. The effective prevention of malaria depends upon community action and government support.
Young children should be protected from mosquito bites, especially at night.
Malaria is spread by the bite of a mosquito. Care should be taken to keep mosquitoes away from young children. There are several ways of doing this:
- By using bed nets (preferably impregnated with a mosquito repellent)
- By putting screens on house windows and doors.
- By killing mosquitoes in the house using insecticides.
All members of the community should be protected against mosquito bites. A mosquito can take malaria from an infected person and pass it to on to someone who is uninfected.
Communities should destroy mosquito larvae and prevent mosquitoes from breeding.
Mosquitoes breed wherever stagnant water can collect; in ponds, swamps, pools, pits, drains, sometimes even tin cans and hoof-prints. They may also breed along the edges of streams and in overhead tanks. Filling in or draining places where water collects can kill the mosquito larvae. Overhead tanks can be covered. The larvae in fields can be killed by alternately drying out the field and introducing larvae-eating fish into the water.
Regular clean-ups of the neighborhood help to reduce mosquito breeding.
Regular using of insecticides.
Whenever malaria is common, a patient who has a fever should be taken immediately to a health worker. If malaria appears to be the cause, the patient should be given a full course of an anti-malarial drug.
A patient with a fever, believed to be caused by malaria, should be given a course of anti-malarial tablets (young babies may be given anti-malarial syrup). Treatment for malaria should begin immediately. Even a day's delay can be fatal. A health worker can advise on what type of treatment is best and how long it should last
The patient should be given the full course of treatment, even if the fever disappears rapidly.
If the symptoms continue, the patient should be taken to a health institution, as the malaria may be resistant to the drugs.
A patient with a fever should be kept cool but not cold.
Patients with fever should be kept cool by:
- Giving a temperature reducing medicine (such as paracetamol)
- Sponging or bathing with cool (not cold) water.
- Not putting too many clothes or blankets on the child.
A patient recovering from malaria needs plenty of liquids and food.
Malaria burns up energy, and the child loses a lot of liquid through sweating. As soon as the child can take food and drink again, these losses should be replaced.
Plenty of food and liquid when the child is recovering from malaria will help to prevent malnutrition and dehydration.