Wednesday, April 27, 2011

UNICEF - Malaria Kills 300,000 Every Year

Malaria kills about 300,000 people in Nigeria annually with about 97 per cent of the population at risk of infection while an estimated 800,000 people die every year from malaria, with approximately 90 per cent of these deaths occurring in Africa where malaria accounts for about one in six of all childhood deaths.This was disclosed yesterday in a press statement by the United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) to mark this year's World Malaria Day.

The Executive Director of the world body, Anthony Lake, said that though malaria was both preventable and curable, hundreds of thousands of children, primarily in Africa, will perish because of lack of access to ITNs and to life-saving treatment within 24 hours of onset of symptoms and that waiting even six hours for treatment can mean life or death for a sick child.

"This World Malaria Day, and every day, around 2,000 children will die from a mosquito bite," "We have effective measures to combat this deadly disease - and we must use them to save lives. Studies have shown that when a community's children sleep every night under insecticide-treated nets (ITNs), overall child mortality can be reduced by up to 20 per cent."

According to the statement, between 2004 and 2010, more than 400 million nets were delivered to malaria-endemic countries, with 290 million delivered since 2008 alone.

He added that these 290 million nets were enough to cover approximately 80 per cent of 'country-stated net need' across Africa which has led to real progress in the reduction of global malaria deaths by 20 per cent between 2000 and 2009,statistics that represent many thousands of individual children's lives.

Lake said, "Fighting malaria not only saves children's lives, but also yields many other health and economic benefits. For example, eliminating malaria eases the burden on over-stretched health centres. Reducing malaria improves the health of pregnant mothers and therefore the health of their babies. Controlling malaria can also reduce deaths due to malnutrition, as those already weakened are more likely to die if they contract the disease."

"We cannot leave some children exposed to malaria and other children safe," Lake said.

"Whether it is insecticide-treated nets, proper diagnosis, or effective treatment, the challenge is to provide protection and care to every single child who is at risk."


Related stories: Blair in Nigeria to urge fight against malaria

Video report on the fight against malaria

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