Health

Malaria strikes everywhere but hits Africa the hardest

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In Tanzania in 2000, a three-year-old boy toddler, sick with malaria, is examined by a health worker.

Every year hundreds of millions of people in developing countries suffer from acute malaria, a mosquito-borne disease. This deadly disease takes a child’s life every 30 seconds worldwide, killing over one million people each year. Most of these deaths are children under five years of age and 90 per cent of malaria cases occur in Africa, south of the Sahara.

Malaria is crippling the continent’s economic growth and perpetuating grinding poverty – affecting more than a billion people. In sub-Saharan Africa, malaria attacks mostly young children, with almost 3,000 dying every day - some 20 per cent of all child deaths in the region.

This Sunday is the fourth commemoration of Africa Malaria Day since the Abuja Malaria summit meeting in April 2000. This year, UNICEF and its Roll Back Malaria partners will be observing the day with a Youssou N’Dour-led concert in Matam, Senegal – a region that has been devastated by malaria.

The Roll Back Malaria Partnership, established in 1998, combines the efforts of the World Health Organization, UNICEF, World Bank, United Nations Development Programme, and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the fight against the disease.

UNICEF calls on pharmaceutical firms for help in the fight

To mark Africa Malaria Day, 25 April 2004, UNICEF is calling on pharmaceutical firms and donor countries to help get a critical new weapon in the fight against malaria out to the hundreds of millions of people afflicted by the disease each year.

“Powerful new drugs can make the difference between life and death for the 300 million people afflicted by malaria every year,” UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy said today. “If the private and public sectors work together effectively, we can make major strides towards rolling back malaria.”

Last year, the organization procured almost 5 million mosquito nets, as well as insecticides to treat the nets. By stopping the bite and killing the malaria-carrying mosquito, insecticide-treated bed nets can dramatically reduce malaria deaths.

Refugees are at high-risk for malaria

In crisis situations where displaced children, women and men are living in refugee camps without appropriate shelter, water or sanitation, fighting malaria with mosquito nets and insecticides is crucial. UNICEF provides support to malaria control programs in over 30 countries in Africa.

Refugees in the Darfur region of Sudan and Eastern Chad, where an ongoing emergency has displaced a million people, are in dire need of supplies to protect against malaria, measles and other diseases.

In a matter of weeks the rainy season will come to the region, bringing along with it mosquitoes, many carrying malaria, potentially affecting tens of thousands of refugees in the Darfur region of Sudan.  “When internally displaced people are exposed and without shelter, they are at risk 24-hours a day,” said UNICEF Senior Health Advisor, Dr. Kopano Mukelabai.

To help combat the disease and protect refugees, UNICEF has provided treated bed nets.

View video report

Malaria’s impact on African children

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22 April, 2004: Kopano Mukelabai, UNICEF's senior Health Advisor for Malaria speaks with UNICEF correspondent Francis Mead.
Audio clip [mp3]

Related links

Learn more about UNICEF's work combatting Malaria

On Africa Malaria Day, UNICEF calls for increased availability of new drugs at affordable price

Region in crisis - Darfur (Sudan/Chad)


 

 

View video report

Malaria’s impact on African children

Low Bandwidth
View clip (Real Format)

High Bandwidth
View clip (Real Format)

Audio

22 April, 2004: Kopano Mukelabai, UNICEF's senior Health Advisor for Malaria speaks with UNICEF correspondent Francis Mead.

Audio clip ([mp3]; right-click to download)

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