A few months ago, we lost two of the kids in one of the communities where we are very active to malaria. Their parents were not able to provide timely medical testing and care. Despite progress in using insecticide treated nets to provide a physical barrier against mosquitoes, malaria remains an acute public health concern in Sierra Leone. In 2015, approximately 438,000 people died of this treatable disease. By making malaria medication available and proactive testing, we will save lives.
Malaria is the leading cause of death among children in Africa. While mosquito bed nets provide very effective protection while asleep, they do not protect children from exposure to mosquitoes in the early evening (before bedtime) when mosquitoes are active. Malaria causes unnecessary sickness, hospitalization, and deaths which can easily be prevented.
Ready access to malaria tests and medication will help prevent deaths from malaria. Rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) will confirm illness before antimalarial treatment is started. Patients will be treated with a proven routine to ensure their recovery and prevent relapse. By proactively making available the recommended malaria tests and the needed medication we will preserve lives.
Adding this pre-emptive, 2nd line of defense will save many lives. This will also ensure that families do not have to spend their meager income on testing and medication. A reduction in deaths by malaria will make it possible for more people, who would otherwise have passed away, to participate in building stronger families, communities and the nation.