Malaria, the leading cause of death among children in Africa, is caused by parasites that are transmitted through the bites of infected mosquitoes. Long-lasting insecticidal nets are a proven and effective way of reducing exposure to mosquitoes at night-time, when people are at greatest risk. Bed nets form a protective barrier around people sleeping under them. Provision of nets is a simple and highly effective way to reduce occurrence of the disease.
According to the latest WHO estimates, released in December 2016, there were 212 million cases of malaria in 2015. Some groups are at considerably higher risk of contracting malaria, and developing severe disease including: infants, children under 5 years of age, pregnant women and patients with HIV/AIDS. The WHO African Region continues to carry 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.
The long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) provide an effective barrier and protection from mosquito bites. They are a form of personal protection that has been shown to reduce malaria illness, severe disease, and death due to malaria in endemic regions. Malaria is preventable and curable, and increased efforts are dramatically reducing the malaria burden in many places. WHO recommends ITNs for all people at risk of malaria.
A reduction in deaths by malaria will make it possible for more people, who would hitherto have died, to take part in growing their economy. Nets also eliminate the loss in productivity that happens when people fall sick. Families will also not need to divert scare resources towards malaria medication, remedies and hospitalization.