Malaria prevention saves children's lives

Malaria continues to be a major disease worldwide, but while funding projects are working hard to improve malaria prevention it is difficult to measure how effective these interventions are. New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal Malaria Journal has used a Lives Saved Tool (LiST) model to show that the increase in funding for the prevention of malaria has prevented 850,000 child deaths in the decade between 2001 and 2010 across Africa.

According to the WHO, malaria caused an estimated 655 000 deaths in 2010, mostly among African children. They estimate that a child dies every minute due to malaria in Africa. Deaths which are unnecessary, because malaria is both preventable and curable. In addition to diagnosis and treatment of sick children, simple solutions to prevent the diseases like insecticide treated mosquito nets (ITN) and during pregnancy, (IPTp), have all been shown to reduce the number of deaths due to malaria. Initiatives like , set up in 1998, aim to reduce due to malaria by two thirds, by 2015, using large scale implementation of these simple solutions.

Researchers from USA at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, in collaboration with Johns Hopkins, the WHO and the and Evaluation Partnership in Africa (MACEPA), used the LiST model to investigate 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 ITNs and IPTp in preventing , and the number of households using ITN to protect their children.

The LiST model conservatively estimates that malaria prevention has saved 850,000 children's lives over the past decade. 99% 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% of the children at risk of malaria had insecticide we estimate as many as 2.77 million additional children's lives could be saved by 2015."

These figures are believed to be the lower estimate of deaths prevented by anti-malaria initiatives since they do not include the impact of better access to treatment with anti-malarials. However, the threat of malaria remains and both prevention and treatment plans need to be sustained for these improvements to be maintained.

More information: Estimates of child deaths prevented from malaria prevention scale-up in Africa 2001-2010 Thomas P Eisele, David A Larsen, Neff Walker, Richard E Cibulskis, Joshua O Yukich, Charlotte M Zikusooka and Richard W Steketee, Malaria Journal (in press)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

655,000 malaria deaths in 2010: WHO

Dec 13, 2011

Malaria caused the death of an estimated 655,000 people last year, with 86 percent of victims children aged under five, World Health Organisation figures showed on Tuesday.

Malaria top killer in Congo

Apr 30, 2008

Health officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo say malaria is the primary cause of illness and death, despite prevention efforts.

Africa loses $12 bln a year to malaria: study

May 05, 2011

Malaria costs Africa $12 billion (eight million euros) a year in lost productivity, an expense that businesses can reduce by investing in prevention schemes, said a study released Thursday.

Recommended for you

Obama addresses West Africans on facts about Ebola

2 hours ago

President Barack Obama urged West Africans on Tuesday to wear gloves and masks when caring for Ebola patients or burying anyone who died of the disease. He also discouraged the traditional burial practice ...

Gluten-free diet benefits asymptomatic EmA+ adults

2 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Asymptomatic individuals with endomysial antibodies (EmA) benefit from a gluten-free diet (GFD), according to a study published in the September issue of Gastroenterology.

Another US health worker infected with Ebola

2 hours ago

A third American health worker has tested positive for the Ebola virus while working with patients in West Africa, the Christian missionary group SIM said Tuesday.

UN implores all countries to help on Ebola

4 hours ago

The international group Doctor Without Borders warned Tuesday that the world is 'losing the battle' against Ebola, while U.N. officials implored all countries to quickly step up their response by contributing health experts ...

Travel restrictions could worsen Ebola crisis: experts

8 hours ago

Travel restrictions could worsen West Africa's Ebola epidemic, limiting medical and food supplies and keeping out much-needed doctors, virologists said Tuesday as the disease continued its deadly spread.

User comments