Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Malaria: Serious killer but there is hope

Malaria deaths are concentrated in Africa, but there is hope.

UNICEF reports:

Malaria kills over one million people each year worldwide. More than 80 per cent of these deaths take place in Sub-Saharan Africa and most are among children under five years of age. An African child dies of malaria every 30 seconds. Malaria is one of the biggest killers of children in Africa, accounting for nearly one in five of the continent’s child deaths. Yet this disease is both preventable and treatable. The solutions are available. For just US$10, a child can be protected against malaria by a long-lasting, insecticide-treated bed net (ITN). And an infected child can be treated with Artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs).

A global map shows how big the problem is. From Malaria Atlas Project:


The implications for malaria control and elimination is further discussed in a scientific paper. It is concluded that 

For the 1 billion people at risk of unstable malaria transmission, elimination is epidemiologically feasible, and large areas of Africa are more amenable to control than appreciated previously.


That sound like some good news.  There is some evidence of success already. According to the Department of Health (as reported here and here), malaria cases have declined in South Africa for instance (see graph).


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