Report: Prevention Efforts Averted Almost 750,000 Child Malaria Deaths Over 10 Years

Malaria prevention efforts – such as the use of bed nets, indoor insecticide spraying and the use of drugs to prevent the disease – have prevented the deaths of almost 750,000 children in 34 African countries over the past 10 years, according to a report (.pdf) released on Tuesday, Reuters reports (9/14).

The report – which was published by the Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM) and written by researchers from Tulane University, Johns Hopkins University, WHO and PATH – finds that the “current global investment in malaria control is saving lives and that further increases in funding will contribute significantly to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for health,” a press release states (9/14). “Most of those lives have been saved since 2006, when the malaria fight got a big injection of cash,” Agence France-Presse writes. According to the report, an additional “three million lives could be saved by 2015 if there is a continuing effort to increase investment to tackle the disease worldwide,” the news service reports (9/14).

The report also finds “that the number of rural households protected by either insecticide-treated nets or indoor residual spraying has increased significantly, especially in the latter half of this decade,” according to the press release (9/14).

“The report’s findings are based on data gathered using a computer-based tool that tracked the impact of malaria prevention efforts on child survival … Gathering this kind of data has been challenging in Africa and having it helps when fundraising in tough economic times,” VOA News notes (Comiteau, 9/14).

Reuters reports that the researchers calculated that every $1,025 spent on insecticide-treated nets protects 380 children and saves the life of one child per year. “If country prevention rates are maintained at this year’s levels until 2015, then 906,000 African children’s lives can be saved,” the report said (9/14).

“Without continued investment in malaria, reaching the MDG for child survival is unlikely to be reached in Africa,” WHO Global Malaria Program Director Robert Newman said of the findings, according to AFP. Tim Ziemer, the U.S. global malaria coordinator said “To reach the Millennium Development Goals, we must accelerate our efforts to expand not only malaria prevention and treatment, but also a broad range of community-based health services” (9/14).

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