Plan International: We Must Continue the Fight to End Preventable Malaria Deaths Across Africa
WASHINGTON - Efforts to stop millions of children dying needlessly from malaria must continue, children’s organization Plan International warns.
As World Malaria Day approaches on April 25th, Plan reiterates the need for continued financial efforts in Africa to help at-risk populations, in particular children under five-years-old and pregnant women, get access to prevention and treatment for malaria.
Cases of malaria are falling, with insecticide-treated bed nets a proven way to prevent the disease, which is caused by the Plasmodium parasite and spread by female Anopheles mosquitoes.
Plan has distributed more than 12 million bed nets in Burkina Faso and Cameroon over the last three years. In 2012, Plan was part of the distribution of 7.6 million sustainable nets across Burkina Faso, meaning a net for every two people. Plan’s distribution of nets was carried out by a network of community health workers who visited families to teach them how malaria is transmitted, how to install a mosquito net treated with insecticide, and how to effectively treat malaria.
Mariam Ouédraogo, 20, mother of three-year-old Rachidatu, and six months pregnant, says: "Before I received the net, I got sick of malaria. I had a fever, and I was so cold, with a headache. My joints hurt and I could not go out and cultivate the field. I went to the hospital and I was prescribed medication that I bought to treat myself. But now I sleep under a mosquito net, everything is so much better.”
Malaria has declined over the last 10 years in all regions of the world, with more than one million lives saved thanks to the effects of treated nets and the development of rapid diagnostic tests and effective treatments for pregnant women and children under five-years-old.
Globally an estimated 660,000 people die from malaria each year, mostly in Africa, with 90% of cases and deaths in sub-Saharan Africa. A child dies from the disease every 60 seconds and 7% of children who survive are left with permanent neurological conditions such as blindness and epilepsy.
“We mustn’t spoil the considerable progress that has been made in recent years in the fight against malaria and we must find new funding mechanisms if we want to avoid both the resurgence of the disease and help save the lives of three million African children by 2015,” said Adama Coulibaly, Regional Director of Plan in West Africa.
About Plan International USA
About Plan International USA Plan International USA is part of the Plan International Federation, a global organization that works side by side with communities in 50 developing countries to end the cycle of poverty for children and their families. Plan works at the community level to develop customized solutions and ensure long-term sustainability. Our solutions are designed up-front to be owned by communities for generations to come and range from clean water and healthcare programs to education projects and child protection initiatives. For more information, please visit www.PlanUSA.org.