World Malaria Day Today – April 25th

Today is World Malaria Day.  Malaria kills a child under the age of five somewhere in the world every 40 seconds, which is equal to approximately 1,400 child deaths per day. Over one million people die from malaria each year, mostly children with the majority of malaria cases occurring in Sub-Saharan Africa alone. The majority of these children die within 48 hours of the onset of illness – first there is fever, headaches, and vomiting, followed by delirium, coma and eventual death.  The tragic death of children from this deadly killer – malaria – can and must be stopped!

But, Malaria does more than kill children, and the parent’s who love and protect them. It hampers children’s schooling and social development. Many children who survive a serious attack of malaria develop physical and mental impairment. No child should die from malaria, but still many do.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

The single most effective means of preventing infection is not drugs, but a simple net. Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets not only keep mosquitoes out, they kill the mosquitoes that land on them.

UNICEF Ireland is sending nets to worst affected areas to help stamp out malaria. This lifesaving work would not be possible without your support. By giving just €14 which will buy 3 nets that will protect a family of 6 for up to five years

Malaria – The facts and challenges

Mosquitoes attack at night, while children sleep; they penetrate exposed skin and flush malarial microbes directly into the bloodstream where they multiply. Untreated, the disease begins with debilitating fever then progresses to rigour, seizures, and ultimately can result in death.

Low cost, commonly used drug resistance therapies are increasingly ineffective. In many parts of Africa, 70 per cent of malaria cases are resistant to cheap existing anti-malarials. Malaria mortality can be drastically reduced by ensuring prompt access to effective antimalarial treatment.However the use of insecticide-treated bed-nets can reduce malaria illness by 50 per cent in areas of high transmission, yet fewer than 5 per cent of African children sleep under a net.

According to the WHO’s World Malaria Report 2011, in 2010 alone there were about 216 million cases of malaria reported – of which 81% occurred in sub-Saharan Africa – and an estimated 655,000 deaths – of which 86% belonged to children under 5 years-old. To put that into perspective, that’s the end of a life every minute and about 1400 children dying every day – which is  also about 1400 too many when malaria is fully preventable and curable.

In this map, a country’s size is replaced by the proportion of worldwide malaria deaths that occur there.

Credit: Benjamin D Hennig, University of Sheffield/UNICEF 2010

What UNICEF does

Through global efforts, including those of UNICEF, we have managed to reduce the number of people dying each year from malaria – even though there is still much left to do. UNICEF is the largest buyer of mosquito nets in the world. UNICEF is supplying safe effective and affordable anti-malarial interventions and developing policies with governments and advocating for more resources and attention to the biggest killer of children in Africa.

UNICEF Ireland is sending nets to worst affected areas to help stamp out malaria. This lifesaving work would not be possible without your support. €14 will buy 3 nets that will protect a family of 6 for up to five years. They are immediately available, and they save children’s lives – hundreds of thousands of them.

Just €14 can help end the nightmare of Malaria. And for almost a million children under the age of five it’s a nightmare from which they never awaken.