Effective Prevention Is Better Than Protracted Treatment.
The old adage; “Prevention is better than a cure” is singularly appropriate when it comes to malaria. Quite simply, if the Anopheles mosquito cannot bite – it cannot cause infection.
Are Insecticides Effective in Killing Mosquitoes?
Insecticides do indeed kill mosquitoes; however, the reproductive cycle of the mosquito means that their effect is only temporary. There are also secondary environmental consequences to the use of airborne insecticides.
Isn’t there a readily available Vaccine?
No. Currently there is no malaria vaccine approved for human use. The malaria parasite is a genetically complex organism which constantly changes within the host and therefore, developing a vaccine against malaria continues to be very difficult. There are preventative drugs available, however they need to be taken continuously and with continued use the preventative drugs have a decreased effectiveness in resisting malarial infection. Furthermore, they are expensive and thus not easily accessible.
What About Mosquito Nets?
Really simple things make a huge difference. Mosquito nets are the single most effective means of preventing malaria infections. Since the mosquito cannot penetrate the mesh, it can’t bite. Most effective of all are insecticide-treated nets. These are nets which are not only impenetrable, their fibres are also impregnated with a potent insecticide which kills the mosquito as it repeatedly attempts to gain access to its sleeping victim.
So Nets Are Better Than Drugs or Insecticides?
An insecticide-treated net costs very little. In fact, just €14 will provide a pack of 3 Insecticide Treated Nets that will protect a family of six for 5 years. A tiny amount of money considering that with enough nets, literally millions of lives could be saved within a few short years. UNICEF has been distributing nets in affected regions since 2003 and the results have been truly exceptional. Over a period of 2 years, UNICEF distributed over 15 million mosquito nets in Ethiopia – it resulted in a 50% reduction in deaths from malaria.
Is There Any Good News?
Yes. Very good news. When nets and adequate medical support is provided malaria can be very quickly stamped out. Entire regions can effectively be made malaria free with the simplest interventions. And in regions where UNICEF has implemented prevention and treatment programmes the effect on mortality and on the region’s economy has been dramatic.
UNICEF in action
UNICEF is the largest purchaser and provider of Insecticide Treated Nets. In 2011, UNICEF procured just over 26 million nets. UNICEF has been extremely engaged in over 30 countries that have undertaken bed net distributions in the last five years, ensuring that mother’s and children receive this life-saving intervention.
How Can I Help?
By giving just €14 you’ll help prevent six people from dying of malaria. That’s €2.30 a life. A tiny amount. All you have to do is simply click here and make a donation.
Learn more about our Malaria campaign: