Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter

Female Anopheles mosquito which cause Malaria. Pixabay

Toronto, May 10, 2017: Researchers have found that maternal education could be a more potent weapon against childhood malaria than the biomedical vaccine.

Malaria is a treatable disease that each year affects approximately 200 million people globally. The young are particularly vulnerable to the disease with nearly 70 per cent of all deaths occurring in children under the age of five.

While an enormous amount of money is spent each year searching for innovative health solutions to fight the disease, this new research suggests that part of the answer may begin with mothers in the classroom.

The study, published in the journal Pathogens and Global Health, found that maternal education can act as a ‘social vaccine’ for childhood malaria infection.

“Educating the mom has as profound an effect on childhood malaria as hundreds of millions of dollars spent on a vaccine,” said senior author Michael Hawkes, Assistant Professor at the University of Alberta in Canada.

The researchers tested 647 children in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) between the ages of two months and five years.

The researchers also had the children’s parent or guardian fill out a survey related to demographics, socioeconomic status, maternal education, bed net use and recent illness involving fever.

The team determined that among the participants, the higher a mother’s education, the lesser chance of the child being infected with malaria.

“This was not a small effect. Maternal education had an enormous effect–equivalent to or greater than the leading biomedical vaccine against malaria,” Hawkes said.

One hundred and twenty-three out of the 647 children in the study tested positive for malaria.

The prevalence of malaria in children of mothers with no education was 30 percent.

If mothers had received primary education, that rate dipped to 17 percent. Mothers who had received education beyond primary school only had a 15 percent prevalence of malaria in their young children, the study found.

“The World Health Organisation is rolling out a new vaccine in countries across Africa that has an efficacy of about 30 per cent,” Hawkes pointed out.

“But children whose mothers are educated beyond the primary level have a 53 per cent reduction in their malaria rates,” he added.

“It doesn’t take a lot of education to teach a mom how to take simple precautions to prevent malaria in her child. All it takes is knowing the importance of using a bed net and knowing the importance of seeking care when your child has a fever,” said study co-author Cary Ma, a medical student at University of Alberta.

These are fairly straightforward, simple messages in the context of health and hygiene that can easily be conveyed, usually at an elementary or primary school level, Ma said. (IANS)


wikimedia commons

Tamil inscriptions of epics, written on palm leaves

Among the Tamil epics written during the Sangam age, only a few survived to this day. Manimegalai is one such. It is written as a sequel to the Sillapadikaram, taking the story forward of Kovalan and Madhavi's daughter, Manimegalai. The Sillapadikaram is about the injustice of the Madurai kingdom in the execution of Kovalan, which turned Kannagi, his wife into a goddess seeking vengeance for her husband's death. Kovalan, before his death, has an affair with a court dancer, Madhavi, and his daughter, Manimegalai, is said to begin a different tradition among the Tamils.

The epic, written by Sattanar, introduces Buddhism to Dravidian culture, something that has been alien to them for years. Manimegalai is the protagonist, who flees constantly from the pursuit of Chola prince Udhayakumara, and tries to lead an ascetic life. Throughout the plot, Buddhist tenets are used to avoid the culmination of a love-story. Manimegalai is believed to be the anti-love story sequel to the Sillapadikaram.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

The Covid-19 pandemic could act as an inflection point to shift India's growth model from being consumption driven to investments-led.

The Covid-19 pandemic could act as an inflection point to shift India's growth model from being consumption driven to investments-led. In its Ecoscope report, Motilal Oswal Financial Services, said: "With Covid-19 hurting India's 'Household' (HH) and 'Government' sectors adversely, the continuity of strong consumption growth is in question."

"On the contrary, with listed companies' financial positions improving and an uptick in household investments in the Real Estate sector (called physical savings), the narrative of investment-led recovery is gaining momentum." The report prescribed that various economic participants - households, governments, listed companies, and unlisted corporates -- to increase their fixed asset investments in the immediate future based on their financial position.

Keep Reading Show less
Wikimedia Commons

After lifting off for space, SpaceX's Inspiration4, the first all-civilian crew, is healthy, happy and doing well in the orbit, the company said recently.

SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said that next time the Dragon spacecraft will have food warmer and free WiFi. Taking to Twitter, the crew of Inspiration4 shared a checklist of things they have been enjoying while orbiting safely around the Earth.

"Can't believe we're eating cold pizza in space. It's extraordinary!" Inspiration4 tweeted. In response, Musk apologised for the cold food, saying: "Sorry, it was cold! Dragon will have food warmer and free WiFi next time."

Keep reading... Show less