As a frequent traveller, I am always vigilant about the dangers lurking in the places I am visiting, especially when it comes to my health. Unfortunately not everyone is so lucky when it comes to protecting against malaria with roughly 214 million cases every year worldwide, along with an estimated 3 million deaths.
It is a surprising fact that nearly half of the world's population is at risk of malaria (approximately 3.2 billion people). Young children, pregnant women and non-immune travelers are particularly vulnerable to the disease when they become infected.
Malaria is caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected mosquitoes. In areas with high transmission of malaria, children under five are particularly susceptible to infection, illness and death. More than two thirds of all malaria deaths occur in this age group. In 2015, about 305,000 African children died before their fifth birthdays. For pregnant woman, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends intermittent preventive treatment at each scheduled antenatal visit, after the first trimester.
Early diagnosis and treatment of malaria reduces disease and prevents deaths, but as we all know prevention is better than cure, and long-lasting insecticidal nets provide personal protection against mosquito bites. The nets are effective for 2-3 years, depending on the model and conditions of use and cost just $2.50 to buy. Between 2000 and 2015, thanks to the efforts of the Against Malaria Foundation, the proportion of children sleeping under a insecticide-treated net in sub-Saharan Africa increased from less than 2% to approximately 68%.
Increased prevention and control measures have led to a 60% reduction in malaria mortality rates during this time, however sub-Saharan Africa continues to carry a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden. In 2015, the region was home to 91% of all malaria deaths.
An insecticide-treated net (usually a bed net) is designed to block mosquitoes physically, with an added residual insecticide for the purpose of killing and repelling mosquitoes, which carry malaria. A long-lasting insecticide-treated net (LLIN) is designed to remain effective for several years without retreatment. The WHO recommends that these nets be distributed for free to achieve universal coverage for those at risk for malaria. All of the LLINs distribution involves surveying people to determine the need for the nets, there distribution and delivery methods and the promotion of there use.
The Against Malaria Foundation buys and delivers insecticide-treated nets to some of the most vulnerable locations around the globe, including several countries in South East Asia such as Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, as well as sub-Saharan Africa and others. These lifesaving nets protect against malaria preventing millions of deaths each year.
If you would like to contribute to this lifesaving cause, you can via the Against Malaria Foundation website or by using the link below. 100% of all donations make it to Africa, and there are continued updates on the website on how the nets are being distributed. On behalf of Noble Wordsmiths and the Foundation, thank you.
Posted January 30, 2016