Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Senegal Success In Its Struggle Against Malaria

Malaria is one of the most destructive diseases that mankind faces today. According to Global Malaria Partnership, this illness affects to 227 million people, the vast majority of them in Africa, and kills almost 1 million every year, with strong incidence in children under five and pregnant women. Malaria is also the cause of aproximately 40 percent of public health expenditures in Sub-Saharian Africa, and dramatically lowers life expectancy and public health in the countries of the region. Although treatments for this disease exist, they have failed to reach the affected population in enough quantities to deal with the problem. Anyways, the best way to fight malaria is by prevention, and many governments and international organizations such as the World Health Organization lead campaigns in this way. There are two main ways of prevention: vaccines and preventive treatments on one side, and protection against malaria vectors (mosquitoes) on the other.

There is still a lot to do, but some countries are already showing considerable progress in their struggle. For example, Eritrea or Rwanda report a 50% decrease in malaria cases, but most of the advancements are located in non-African countries. So when we hear things like the news coming from Senegal, we must feel glad and hopeful.

Senegal officials state that today, after a 5 year campaign, 8 out of 10 Senegalese homes now own at least one insecticide-treated bednet, one half of the pregnant Senegalese women have recieved at least two doses of "Anti-malarial Preventive Treatment," and the diagnosis of the disease has almost doubled. All these efforts are now giving encouraging results: cases have gone down 41% and child mortality rate has been lowered by 30%. And the situation continues to improve. This is the result of strong efforts, good planning, solid cooperation between the Senegalese Government, other countries and NGOs, and a true commitment to the future of their people.

- David Nebreda

SOURCE: African Leaders Malaria Alliance