Malaria Prevention Is Saving Children’s Lives

A new report confirms that the current global investment in malaria control is saving lives and that further increases in funding will contribute significantly to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for health.

The study by Tulane University, Johns Hopkins University, WHO and PATH and published by the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, provides the first assessment of lives saved as result of preventive measures.

Through the use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets, indoor residual spraying and preventive treatment of malaria during pregnancy, it’s estimated that the lives of nearly 750,000 children in 34 African countries have been saved during the last decade.

A group of grandmothers in Senegal gather as part of the community-mobilization effort to prevent malaria. Photo: (c) Catherine Karnow/Malaria No More

A group of grandmothers in Senegal gather as part of the community-mobilization effort to prevent malaria. Photo: (c) Catherine Karnow / Malaria No More

The report estimates that an additional 3 million lives could be saved by 2015 if the world continues to increase investment in tackling the disease. ChildFund is pursuing this goal by working with trained community health volunteers to provide malaria-prevention education to children and their families. In addition, ChildFund-supported community health huts provide medical care to children who contract the disease.

Malaria causes more than 850,000 deaths per year worldwide, primarily in Africa where the disease accounts for almost 20 percent of all child deaths. Malaria also threatens the health of pregnant women. In sub-Saharan Africa, as many as 10,000 pregnant women die each year of malaria-related causes, mainly anemia.

The report provides the first assessment of lives saved based on the level of coverage achieved with currently available malaria-prevention tools.

“The findings from this report clearly show the efficacy of our efforts to save lives, especially among children in Africa,” says Awa Coll Seck, executive director of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership “This is a vital tool which can help strengthen country planning and guide us all as we focus on 2015.”

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