Malaria, together with HIV/AIDS and TB, is one of the major public health challenges undermining development in the poorest countries in the world. Approximately 40% of the world’s population—mostly those living in the world’s poorest countries—are at risk of malaria. The disease is found in 109 countries and territories and causes more than 250 million acute illnesses and at least one million deaths annually. Eighty-six percent of deaths due to malaria occur in sub-Saharan Africa, where malaria is the leading cause of death among children under five. Malaria kills an African child every 30 seconds and many others who survive a severe episode may suffer from learning impairments or brain damage. Pregnant women and their unborn children are also particularly vulnerable to the disease, which is a major cause of perinatal mortality, low birth weight, and maternal anemia.
Malaria is a blood-borne infection caused by parasites and transmitted from one infected person to another by the bite of the female Anopheles mosquitoes, which are active from dusk to dawn. Mild to moderate anemia is also common because the malaria parasite infects and destroys red blood cells. Untreated, malaria can result in severe anemia, lung and kidney failure, coma and death.
MCHIP and Malaria
MCHIP works at the global, regional and country levels to promote and support proven interventions that will accelerate malaria prevention and control and contribute to “scaling up for impact.” Recognizing that pregnant women, their unborn babies and children under five years of age are most vulnerable to malaria, addressing malaria prevention and control within a comprehensive platform of maternal and child health (MCH) services is a critical element to ensure sustained success in reducing malaria for improved health outcomes. MCHIP offers technical and programmatic leadership to address malaria prevention and control in the following areas: