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.
From the half a million people who die annually from malaria worldwide, children younger than five years old are the main victims. Less than 10% of children sleep under protective nets in Sierra Leone, where malaria is still a frequent and killer disease. Malaria causes unnecessary sickness, hospitalization and deaths which could easily be prevented. Productivity is also affected when people fall sick and become incapacitated. This sickness deprives countries of their productive population.
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. In community-wide trials in several African settings, ITNs have been shown to reduce the death of children under 5 years from all causes by about 20%. This significantly lowers the risk of getting 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.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).
UNICEF Video - World Malaria Day
World Health Organization - Fact File on Malaria
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