In the 10 years since 2001, more money for the prevention of malaria has saved the lives of an estimated 850 000 children in Africa. This is according to researchers from USA at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, in collaboration with Johns Hopkins, the WHO and the Malaria Control and Evaluation Partnership in Africa (MACEPA), who used a Lives Saved Tool (LiST) model for their findings.
They investigated the impact of malaria prevention in the decade between 2001 and 2010 across 43 countries in sub-Saharan Africa where malaria is endemic. The team, led by Dr Thomas Eisele, based their model on UN estimates of malaria deaths over the year 2000 and future population growth, the effectiveness of insecticide treated mosquito nets (ITN) and IPTp in preventing child deaths, and the number of households using ITNs to protect their children.
In their estimations, malaria caused 655 000 deaths in 2010, mostly among children. They estimate that a child dies every minute due to malaria, even though the disease is preventable and curable. In addition to the diagnosis and treatment of sick children, simple solutions like ITN and malaria prevention during pregnancy have all been shown to reduce the number of deaths due to malaria. Initiatives like Roll Back Malaria, set up in 1998, aim to reduce child mortality due to malaria by two thirds by 2015, using large scale implementation of these simple solutions.
The LiST model conservatively estimates that malaria prevention has saved 850,000 children’s lives over the past decade. 99 percent of these were saved by using ITN alone.
Dr Thomas Eisele commented, “Malaria continues to cause a tremendous amount of child deaths throughout Africa. If 100 percent of the children at risk of malaria had insecticide mosquito nets, we estimate as many as 2.77 million additional children’s lives could be saved by 2015.”