Malaria is the Primary Killer in Sub-Saharan Africa
By admin April 29, 2015


A child dies every minute from malaria in Africa where it is estimated that nine out of 10 malaria deaths occur. In 2013, there were 528,000 deaths from malaria and about 78 percent of these were in children under five years of age.

Malaria is transmitted by the bites of infected mosquitoes, but unknown to many; it can also be spread to children during pregnancy as well as before and/or during childbirth. Malaria contracted at this time is called congenital malaria and is a cause of infant death and low birth weight. In order to address these challenges, the WHO regional director has urged countries and stakeholders to focus on targeting available resources at places where the burden of malaria is the highest. In areas of high malaria transmission, the World Health Organization recommends targeting high-risk groups such as pregnant women and young children with chemoprevention strategies. Malaria is preventable and curable if diagnosed early and effective treatment with artemisinin-based combination therapies used.


The Lagos State Government in Nigeria has adopted a multi-pronged strategy to eliminate malaria in the state of Lagos. The strategies include Vector control interventions, preventive therapies, diagnostic testing, treatment with quality-assured Artemisinin-based Combination Therapies, and strong malaria surveillance. Long Lasting Insecticide Nets have been deployed to communities, as well as distribution of nets in public health facilities to children who had completed their immunization schedule and to pregnant women who booked for antenatal care. Another preventive strategy being deployed in the state is the Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS), which is the application of long-acting chemical insecticides on the walls and roofs of houses for the effect of curtailing malaria transmission.

Hope for Future Generations, a Non-Governmental Organization, has launched a malaria education program for children in deprived communities in eight regions in Ghana. The beneficiary regions are Volta, Western, Greater-Accra, Eastern, Brong-Ahafo, Upper West, Upper East, and Northern Regions. The program has educated children about malaria, and how to prevent the disease and has helped reduce the incidence of the disease among children. As malaria was the number cause of the absenteeism of children in schools, the program brings about behavioral change in children to take steps to prevent the disease.

Another effective initiative led by the World Health Organization is adopting “Investing for Impact” as a guiding principle. This principle is anchored in the Global Technical Strategy for malaria and aims to reduce malaria incidence and mortality rates by at least 90 percent by 2030 and eliminate malaria from at least 35 countries in which malaria transmission is occurring in 2015. A reduction in Malaria can drastically reduce health care costs and increase productivity, and improve the economy of many African nations.

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