Use of long lasting insecticide - treated bed nets is key to cutting malaria deaths and illness - UNICEF
Juba, South Sudan 25 April 2013 – South Sudan today joined the rest of the world to mark the World Malaria Day. The day, themed “Invest in the future, defeat Malaria,” is commemorated every year to bring attention to one of the largest killer diseases of children and pregnant women globally.
An estimated 660,000 people-most of whom are African children die every year from Malaria. Most of these deaths are preventable if people would be keen on using long-lasting insecticide treated nets.
“Malaria is one of the biggest killer diseases in South Sudan especially in children and pregnant women. As we commemorate World Malaria Day, we need to rededicate and renew political commitment, advocate and mobilize resources to combat this dangerous disease,” said Dr Emmanuel Ijja Baya, The Minister of Health, Central Equatoria State.
Malaria is endemic in over 95% of South Sudan and contributes to 20-30% of health facility attendance during low season and up to 70% during peak season, mostly affecting children under the age of five.
“It is unacceptable for children to continue dying from a disease that is preventable and curable. There is an urgent need to mobilize and sensitize communities on the need and importance of using long lasting insecticide treated bed-nets,” said UNICEF’s Representative Dr Yasmin Ali Haque
With partners, UNICEF supports the Ministry of Health to undertake the free distribution of long lasting insecticide-treated nets, train and provide community health workers with simple tools such as malaria rapid diagnostic tests and provision of intermittent preventive treatments aimed at reducing maternal and neonatal deaths.
In the last two years UNICEF has distributed over one million long lasting insecticide treated bed nets throughout South Sudan. When the universal coverage – one net for every two people – is reached, this simple yet effective barrier can reduce child mortality by up to 20 per cent. This year, UNICEF will procure 1,000,000 ITNs for the integrated community case management. The priority will be to cover mothers and children less than 5 years.
Fighting malaria not only saves the lives of children, but also yields many other health and economic benefits for affected communities. For example, reducing malaria improves the health of pregnant mothers and that of their newborn babies.
UNICEF works in more than 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org
UNICEF is one of the world’s largest global procurers and deliverers of long-lasting insecticide treated nets with over 200 million nets procured between 2000 and 2012 in over 40 countries. UNICEF is also a recognized leader in monitoring and evaluation of malaria control activities and is focusing on improving data quality in country. As a lead procurer of medicines and life-saving commodities for children, UNICEF is using its market shaping power to ensure increased access and affordability.
For further information, please contact:
Mercy Kolok, Communication Officer, UNICEF South