Malaria in Africa: Since 2000, malaria cases and deaths have been declining in Africa due to the provision of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) and antimalarial drugs. A decrease in access in either or both would lead to potentially catastrophic increases in malaria morbidity and, mortality within Africa. In 2019, only 52% of the people within a household in sub-Saharan Africa had access to an ITN. In 2020, in part due to COVID restrictions, there were an estimated 241 million malaria cases (up by 14 million from 2019), and 627,000 malaria deaths (up by 69,000 from 2019) worldwide. Malaria endemic countries continue to face challenges as the pandemic is not over. Hence, there is a continuing need to escalate malaria prevention measures to prevent the resurgence of this disease and consequent loss of productivity and life.
Why Zambia? Zambia continues to be a highly endemic malaria country, with the entire population of about 20 million considered to be at risk of contracting malaria due to high co-infection rates between HIV, malaria and TB, poor sanitation etc. It is among the 20 countries with the highest malaria incidence and mortality globally. Pregnant women living with HIV, and children under five are highly vulnerable to malaria infection and death. However, only 52% of pregnant women and children under five use a net.
Our response: To keep families and children healthy and malaria free, 22,000 long lasting insecticide treated nets and education were provided this year. The provision of these nets benefitted 80,000 children or 40,000 adults as each net can sleep up to four young children or two adults. Our plan is to continue to expand the provision of nets with the goal of eradicating malaria from Zambia in the next 2-3 years.
Thanks for keeping families vulnerable to malaria healthy.