Scale up of Long Lasting Insecticide Nets (LLINs) has massively contributed to reduce malaria mortality across Africa.
This month’s report by WHO/UNICEF on ‘Achieving the Malaria MDG Target’ indicated that over 50% of Congolese children sleep under bednets. However these overly optimistic assertions are contradicted by a careful malaria survey conducted in 2007 in 8,000 households in the Congo, which indicated a blood-slide positivity of 33.5% and only 7% of children sleeping under bednets (Molecular malaria epidemiology…… by Taylor et al DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0016420.
The study included 40 households, split evenly across the two regions. Forty interviews were conducted with household heads and 151 sleeping spaces were inventoried using the sleeping space questionnaire.
The cost of endemic malaria to Africa is overwhelming. Yet the effects of the disjointed, unfocused and mainly misdirected control efforts are visible and significant. We saw 216 Million case of malaria in 2011 and had 650000 deaths due to malaria in the same timeframe. When compared with almost 250 Million cases and 863000 deaths just a short three years earlier, the effect is clear. In spite of the plethora of effective tools available to us, the elimination of malaria will largely remain a pie in the sky.
The article below was contributed by journalist Ntaryike Divine Jr. (Douala, Cameroon) as part of the SjCOOP project in collaboration with MalariaWorld.
On August 20 2011 amid bloated pomp, Cameroon’s Prime Minister Philemon Yang flagged off a countrywide government campaign to distribute over 8.6 million long lasting insecticidal mosquito bednets gratis. But the operation that was initially slated to span a dozen days from 8 to 20 September is yet to take off in six of the country’s ten administrative regions.