In the village of Nyramaturtu in central Rwanda, five-month-old Delphine was very sick with a high fever and vomiting. She was infected with malaria. Her mother, Claudine, took her to the local hospital, where she was immediately hospitalised and given anti-malarial pills.
Once Delphine was well enough to be released from the hospital, Claudine was given more anti-malarial pills to finish the little girls's treatment. Claudine was also provided with an insecticide-treated mosquito net, and directions on how to use it. When children sleep under such nets, overall child deaths can be reduced by 20 per cent.
In 2010, malaria killed some 655,000 people, 86 per cent of them children under 5 years of age. Although this disease is both preventable and treatable, many children, especially in Africa, continue to die from it as they do not sleep under insecticide-treated nets and are unable to access life-saving treatment within 24 hours of onset of symptoms. Waiting even six hours for treatment can mean life or death to a child sick with malaria.
Malaria prevention and control interventions form an integral component of UNICEF's high impact maternal and child survival interventions. UNICEF is the largest global procurer and deliverer of insecticide-treated mosquito nets and supports national governments and partners for treatment of malaria with the new and highly effective artemisinin-based combination therapies.
Governments as well as international and local partners and communities also play important roles in the fight against malaria. Together, tremendous progress has been achieved. Since 2000, malaria deaths have fallen by more than 25 per cent.
However, malaria is still killing a child somewhere in the world every 30 seconds. To fight this deadly disease, UNICEF continues to mobilise resources and raise funds to protect the health and lives of children worldwide.