Why Does A Child Die of Malaira Every 30 Seconds?

Why does a child die of malaria every 30 seconds when the disease is curable and preventable?  A new series of articles in Malaria Journal attempts to answer that question.

In one of the articles that authors describe a method that showed a dramatic decrease in both the mortality and morbidity of Malaria on the island of Principe.  But, clearly one of the major factors is just the economics involved. 

Over at malariafreefuture.com, they discuss much of the other (political) factors that go into the treatment and prevention of malaria across the under developed world.   These include making sure that imported drugs are not fakes:

“Fake products were produced in China but labelled “Made in India,” according to NAFDAC.  Their lab tests showed that these supposed sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) products lacked the pyrimethamine.”

Pyrimethamine is an anti-parasitic drug which prevents both the growth and reproduction of parasites. 

Another problem is simply getting out enough bed-nets.  It sounds simple but it isn’t.  Nigeria’s 2008 demographic and health survey found:

  • 16.9% of households have at least one bednet of any kind (16.3% are ITNs)
  • 11.9% of children aged <5years had slept under any net (5.5% under ITNs)
  • 11.8% of pregnant women had slept under any net (4.8% under ITNs)
  • 4.9% of pregnant women had received 2 doses of IPT
  • 33.2% of children with suspected malaria took an anti-malarial drug (15.2% got that treatment the same day; 2.4% got an ACT)

Those numbers are far too low.  The World Malaria Report says that over 800,000 people die every year from malaria.  That’s just insane given that fact that we have the right drugs to treat and cure it!  But, as is nearly always the case, the day to day politics and economics get in the way. 

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