With less than a year to go to meet the 2010 targets for reducing malaria, this World Malaria Day (25 April) is a time to focus on children at risk of the disease, ChildFund Australia CEO Nigel Spence said today.
Malaria kills an estimated 881,000 people each year, of which *85 per cent are children under five. The majority of affected children live in Africa, where most malaria deaths occur.
While the latest reports show major progress is being made in rolling back malaria, the pressure is now on to help every country meet the Global Malaria Action Plan target of halving the number of malaria deaths and illness from 2000 levels by 31 December 2010.
One of the easiest ways of doing this is increasing the supply of insecticide-treated mosquito nets to families in malaria-prone areas. Despite big increases in recent years, the number available is still far below the need. In Africa alone, 350 million nets are needed.
“We have less than a year to meet the 2010 target of halving the number of malaria deaths and illness from 2000 levels,” says ChildFund Australia CEO Nigel Spence. “It is very encouraging to see countries like Ethiopia and Zambia on track to meet these targets, but it is unacceptable that 750,000 children are still dying unnecessarily each year because of this easily preventable and treatable disease.”
ChildFund Australia is working with families in Zambia to continue reducing the incidence of malaria, particularly among children. In Mumbwa district, one of the eight areas where ChildFund operates, mosquito nets are being distributed to around 25,000 households. As well as providing nets, children and families are being educated about how to prevent malaria and recognise the symptoms.
Australians can do their bit by purchasing mosquito nets for children and pregnant mothers in Zambia through ChildFund Australia’s Donations with a Difference online gift catalogue.
*Source: Global Malaria Action Plan (2008) http://rollbackmalaria.com/about-malaria/key-facts/