World Malaria Day
Fighting malaria is an investment in future!
Malaria is the first reason for consultations and hospitalizations in Côte d’Ivoire. Throughout the country, about 3.5 million children under five and 1 million pregnant women are exposed to malaria. Children are victim of 1 to 6 malaria episodes per year. Malaria can contribute to anemia or neurological problems among children and has serious repercussions on pregnancies such as anemia, premature delivery, abortion and low birthweight.
Côte d’Ivoire adheres to the objectives of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, part of the Global Malaria Business Plan, which aims to achieve 80% coverage of all people at risk with adequate protection and treatment such as impregnated bed nets by 2010 and to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. In this sense, the country has adopted a National Malaria Program that aims to increase impregnated bed net use by children under five and pregnant women to 60% by the end of 2008. Only 3% of children under five slept under an insecticide-treated net before 2007 (MICS 2006).
The use of impregnated bed nets is still the most effective method to prevent malaria. The impact of the utilization of impregnated mosquito nets for children in stable malaria endemic areas are the following (Lengeler 2000):
It is essential to assist Côte d’Ivoire in the supply of sufficient drugs and mosquito nets for the correct and adequate prevention and treatment of malaria. Ideally, all malaria cases in children under five and pregnant women should be treated within 48 hours after onset of fever. This requires community based treatment of malaria. In Côte d’Ivoire, the community-based Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI), including malaria treatment has been initiated by UNICEF through two field offices, one in Bouaké covering the central and northern part of the country, and another in Man for the western part of the country.
UNICEF has supported the re-establishment of Côte d’Ivoire public health services, including the rehabilitation of health centres and the provision of essential supplies such as impregnated mosquito nets, essential drugs and vaccines.
In 2006 and 2007, UNICEF supported the distribution of 661,200 Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets for children under five and pregnant women. UNICEF also contributed to the provision of anti-malarial drugs in order to provide adequate treatment to children and women suffering from malaria.
UNICEF’s activities will aim to achieve the National Malaria Program objective for 2008, thus increase impregnated bed net use by children under five and pregnant women to 60%. More specifically, UNICEF: (i) will support the distribution of about 200,000 nets among pregnant women; (ii) plans to distribute more than 3,700,000 nets to children under five; and will support the supply of more than 2,800,000 anti-malarial tablets to prevent Malaria among pregnant women. Moreover, UNICEF will continue to assist the Ministry of Health in providing a package of cost-effective interventions for child survival.