World Malaria Day is April 25!
On April 25, Plan International USA is joining the global community to recognize World Malaria Day. While malaria death rates amongst young children have halved since 2000, together we must encourage continued investment, innovation, and political will to prevent the resurgence of malaria.
Why do we recognize World Malaria Day?
- Malaria kills. According to the World Health Organization, malaria accounts for 20 percent of child deaths.
- Children under 5 are particularly vulnerable to the disease. Mosquitoes do not recognize international or domestic borders.
What causes malaria and how can it be prevented?
Many are unaware of some basic facts about the disease. Two misconceptions tend to pop up the most, and MalariaMatters.org tackled the myths in a recent post.
- Misconception: Malaria can be carried by any mosquito.
Incorrect. Malaria can be carried by mosquitoes in the genus Anopheles. These types of mosquitoes are lighter in color and don’t resemble the typical black-and-white striped mosquito often portrayed in the media.
- Misconception: Outdoor spraying will help prevent malaria.
Not completely true. Indoor spraying works best, according to Malaria Matters.
“Indoor residual spraying is designed specifically with the behavior of anopheles in mind because they do rest on the walls inside houses after biting, and residual means the insecticidal effect lasts for some months. Outdoor fogging is hit and miss and dissipates.”
How is Plan fighting malaria?
Preventing malaria, while simple, is also challenging. Plan has focused on insecticide impregnated nets, which are easy to distribute and useful in detracting mosquitoes. The challenge is ensuring the sustainability of good behaviors and practices. Here are a few things Plan is doing:
- In 2012, Plan contributed to the training of 27,900 community actors and 3,800 community health workers in the fight against malaria in West Africa.
- Plan’s malaria control project has increased the use of long-lasting impregnated nets (LLINs) in West Africa, particularly by pregnant women and children under 5.
- In Cameroon, more than 8 million LLINs have been distributed, and in Burkina Faso, more than 16 million. In Togo, more than 6 million nets will be distributed by the end of June.
- Plan has worked to increase preventive treatment coverage for pregnant women, which includes the administration of a full course of an anti-malarial treatment to a population at risk during specified time periods. This protocol is potentially a way of preventing malaria in infants.
We’ve seen progress.
- LLIN coverage has increased from an average of 12 percent in 2007 to an average of 67 percent in 2012.
- Plan has contributed to the reduction in average of 45 percent of deaths of children between 0 and 5 years due to malaria in the 12 countries covered between 2005 and 2012.
- Malaria morbidity (number of cases) decreased by nearly 40 percent in the 12 countries where Plan works between 2005 and 2012.
- Plan coordinated the distribution of nearly 21 million LLINS over the last five years.
What can you do?
Plan’s malaria-focused programs are largely funded by The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, among others, but you can also aid in our prevention efforts. When you purchase our mosquito nets through our Gifts of Hope campaign, you are protecting a family from contracting the disease.