World Malaria Day

 

World Malaria Day

Global News 00:02

850,000 people annually die from a mosquito bite.

UNICEF calls for action to roll back Malaria on World Malaria Day

Around 850,000 people annually die from a mosquito bite. Nearly 90% of the malaria- affected people live in sub-Sahara Africa and it is a leading cause of death.  It is estimated that a child dies of malaria every 30 seconds in this area and the majority of those deaths are children under five years old.

Malaria is spread by the bite of an Anopheles mosquito. The disease will worsen rapidly especially in children, as they have very little immunity to resist it, causing coma and death.

UNICEF calls for action to roll back malaria to ensure universal coverage of malaria control interventions, to help save hundreds of thousands of lives.

A baby boy sleeps at home under protective netting, to reduce his exposure to malaria, in the village of Essaout in the south-western Ziguinchor Region. A girl sits nearby. Malaria, transmitted by mosquitoes, causes nearly 30 per cent of all child deaths in Senegal. UNICEF supports the distribution insecticide-treated mosquito nets, as well as preventative treatment and care in communities and at health facilities.  In June 2007 in Senegal, young people comprise nearly half of the more than 12 million inhabitants but persistent poverty and chronic food insecurity continue to threaten children's welfare and growth. Easily preventable diseases are responsible for a large number of child deaths, and health and nutrition programmes are hampered by a lack of funds and trained personnel. Still, Senegal is making progress in the areas of nutrition, safe water access and education, devoting 50 per cent of its national budget to education and health services. Overall primary school enrolment has increased from 71.6 per cent of eligible children in 2001/2002 to 82.2 per cent in 2004/2005. And the gap between boys and girls attending school has narrowed from 11 to 4 per cent, though regional disparities persist - with the gap as high as 20 per cent in some areas. To help sustain progress in education, UNICEF works with the Government and diverse national and international partners to support an integrated package of health and child protection interventions for education, as well as for early childhood development. Initiatives include: teacher-training on child-centred methods, life-skills and HIV/AIDS education; peer education and vocational and life-skills training for adolescents; installation of safe water and sanitation facilities in schools, including separate latrines for girls and boys; health and nutrition programmes; curriculum development in Koranic schools; and non-formal education projects for vulnerable children. UNICEF also supports other health, nutrition and protection programmes, including to end female genital mutilation/cutting and to promote mine-risk education in the conflict-affected, south-western Casamance area (consisting of Ziguinchor and Kolda Regions). On 2 March, women and their children rest on beds in a UNICEF-supported therapeutic feeding centre in the eastern town of Goz Beïda, Ouaddaï Region. Mosquito nets hang behind them. One woman (right) and her child are refugees from Sudans Darfur Region.  From 28 February to 6 March 2010, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow visited Chad to raise awareness of the importance of immunizing children against polio. Her visit coincided with the 6 March launch of a national immunization campaign aimed at 2.2 million children under five. It is one of 16 synchronized polio vaccination campaigns that were being launched throughout West Africa on that date. Polio cases in Chad are of particularly concern because the country has been a major conduit for the diseases spread to other countries. Between 2004 and 2006, an outbreak spread from Chad to Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Indonesia. This strain of poliovirus originated from Nigeria, one of four countries in the world where the disease is still endemic. A 2007 outbreak, also originating in Nigeria, continues to infect Chadian children, in large part because of poor immunization coverage. Most cases in Chad have occurred in NDjamena, the capital, where more than half of all children are routinely missed in vaccination campaigns. Ms. Farrow met with government officials, representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, and local leaders, and visited polio vaccination teams to support the campaign. She also visited a displacement camp in the eastern town of Goz Beïda and a therapeutic feeding centre in the western city of Mao, and attended the campaigns launch ceremony in NDjamena. The synchronized campaigns are supported by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which is spearheaded by WHO, Rotary International, the United States' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and UNICEF. The initiative is also supported by diverse governments, the European Commission, NGOs and other partners.

Fighting malaria yields other benefits:

•    Reducing malaria reduces the burden in over-stretched health centers.
•    Reducing malaria reduces the number of people who die of HIV and AIDS as malaria is a significant contributing cause to those deaths.
•    Reducing malaria reduces the number of people who die of malnutrition as those already weakened from lack of food are more likely to die if they contract malaria.
•    Reducing malaria improves the health of pregnant mothers and therefore improves the health of their babies.

Contributions to “Friends of UNICEF” Monthly Pledge will help save lives of children. For every donation of HKD$100, UNICEF will provide 2 insecticide-treated bed nets (ITN) for children to prevent from Malaria and to ensure that no one dies from a mosquito bite.