Malaria: the Number One Killer of Children in Africa

Malaria is a leading cause of child deaths in Africa.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, malaria is the 5th cause of death from infectious diseases worldwide (after respiratory infections, HIV/AIDS, diarrheal diseases, and tuberculosis).   Malaria is the 2nd leading cause of death from infectious diseases in Africa, after HIV/AIDS.  

Children with mosquito nets in Africa


Key facts:

  • Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.
  • In 2015, 91 countries and areas had ongoing malaria transmission.
  • Malaria is preventable and curable, and increased efforts are dramatically reducing the malaria burden in many places.
  • Between 2010 and 2015, malaria incidence among populations at risk (the rate of new cases) fell by 21% globally. In that same period, malaria mortality rates among populations at risk fell by 29% globally among all age groups, and by 35% among children under 5.
  • The WHO African Region carries a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden. In 2015, the region was home to 90% of malaria cases and 92% of malaria deaths.  WHO Fact Sheet 2017

About 3.2 billion people – nearly half of the world's population – are at risk of malaria. In 2015, there were roughly 214 million malaria cases and an estimated 438 000 malaria deaths. Increased prevention and control measures have led to a 60% reduction in malaria mortality rates globally since 2000. Sub-Saharan Africa continues to carry a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden. In 2015, the region was home to 89% of malaria cases and 91% of malaria deaths - WHO (November 2015)


Malaria Prevention within Reach

Malaria can be easily prevented by limiting one’s exposure to mosquitoes and mosquito bites. The primary point of attack by mosquitoes is during the night, when people are asleep.  Studies have shown that the use of insecticide-treated nets significantly reduces the chances of being bitten by a mosquito. However, many homes do not have these nets.  Develop Africa is working to ensure that this simple, inexpensive and life-preserving protection is provided to all.  This project also provides preventive anti-malaria tablets.

Insecticide-treated mosquito nets

Long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) are the preferred form of insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs) for public health programmes. In most settings, WHO recommends LLIN coverage for all people at risk of malaria. The most cost-effective way to achieve this is by providing LLINs free of charge, to ensure equal access for all. In parallel, effective behaviour change communication strategies are required to ensure that all people at risk of malaria sleep under a LLIN every night, and that the net is properly maintained. 

Antimalarial drugs

Antimalarial medicines can also be used to prevent malaria. For travellers, malaria can be prevented through chemoprophylaxis, which suppresses the blood stage of malaria infections, thereby preventing malaria disease. For pregnant women living in moderate-to-high transmission areas, WHO recommends intermittent preventive treatment with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, at each scheduled antenatal visit after the first trimester. Similarly, for infants living in high-transmission areas of Africa, 3 doses of intermittent preventive treatment with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine are recommended, delivered alongside routine vaccinations.WHO Fact Sheet 2017


  For every $10 donated we can provide a bed net to a family in need and save lives!

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