Malaria remains one of the biggest killers of young children in Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA), accounting for more than 40 million probable confirmed cases, 100,000 inpatients and 35,000 recorded deaths.
Malaria also contributes to high levels of anaemia in children and pregnant women, and to low birth weights - one of the key underlying causes of infant mortality and an impediment to children’s ability to grow healthy and reach their full potential.
Malaria is a disease of poverty. It affects mainly the poor living in malaria-prone rural or urban areas that offer few, if any, barriers against mosquitoes. It has serious economic impacts, slowing economic growth and perpetuating the vicious cycle of poverty.
Use of Long Lasting Insecticide Nets (LLINs) and implementation of Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) prevents mosquitoes transmitting malaria parasites between people and reduces re-infection of people that have been recently cured. Sleeping under LLINs can reduce overall child mortality by 20 percent. There is evidence that LLINs, when consistently and correctly used, can save six child lives per year for every 1000 children sleeping under them.
Data compiled in 2010 has shown that malaria has been reduced by 50 percent between 2000 to 2009 in Botswana, Madagascar, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Eritrea, Rwanda and Zambia.
Troportion of children under five years in malaria-affected areas sleeping under LLINs has increased rapidly since 2005, with the more highly endemic countries achieving more than 40 percent net use. However, more effort is needed to further increase this to reach the globally agreed target of 80.
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