Malaria is a parasitic disease caused by Plasmodium spp and is transmitted by mosquitoes. There are four parasite species that cause malaria in humans. Malaria Documents and Resource Centre:
Each have varying degrees of risk, with Plasmodium falciparum being the most deadly.
Transmission of malaria depends on climatic conditions that may affect the number and survival of mosquitoes, such as rainfall patterns, temperature and humidity. In many places, transmission is seasonal, with the peak during and just after the rainy season.
Malaria is widespread in the world's poorest countries, infecting between 300 and 500 million people a year and killing over one million people.
Malaria epidemics can occur when climate and other conditions suddenly favour transmission in areas where people have little or no immunity to malaria. Partial immunity is developed over years of exposure, and does reduce the risk that malaria infection will cause severe disease. This is part of the reason most malaria deaths in Africa occur in young children, whereas in areas with less transmission and low immunity, all age groups are at risk. (WHO 2012)
Why is combatting Malaria so important?
Most deaths are in children under five years old and over 90% of these deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2010, malaria caused an estimated 655 000 deaths (with an uncertainty range of 537 000 to 907 000), mostly among African children; in Africa a child dies every minute from malaria (WHO 2012). And according to a paper published by Save the Children in 2008, Malaria also causes up to half of all deaths among school children.
Malaria in pregnancy causes low birth weight, which contributes to infant mortality.
Malaria is both preventable and curable and increased malaria prevention and control measures are dramatically reducing the malaria burden in many places. Malaria mortality rates have fallen by more than 35% globally since 2000, and by 33% in the WHO African region.
In its 2011 report, WHO cited although huge progress has been made towards efforts of elimination, resurgence of malaria had still occured in three African countries. Accordingly, this year's World Malaria Day (falling on the 25th April each year), was titled, "Sustain lives, save lives: invest in Malaria" based on the knowledge that whether the malaria map shrinks or establishes itself again very much depends on the resources invested in efforts to control it.
The Malaria Control in Schools toolkit aims to enable education professionals to develop effective programmes on the prevention and control of malaria for school-age children within malaria endemic countries.
Practical up-to-date information and experience on the control of malaria in schools is presented with both technical and policy advice on malaria, and how countries can plan and implement school-based malaria interventions.
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For more information on Malaria, search for Country Programmes on Malaria, articles in the Malaria Bibliography and Document Downloads or visit the Malaria Consortium website.
World Malaria Report 2011 - This WHO report summarizes information received from 106 malaria-endemic countries and a range of sources. The report clearly shows the progress made in the fight against malaria and a decline in estimated malaria cases and deaths. Individual profiles for 99 countries with ongoing malaria transmission are included.
World Malaria Report 2010 - The 2010 WHO report highlights continued progress made towards meeting the World Health Assembly (WHA) targets for malaria to be achieved by the end of 2010 and by 2015.
Presumptive Malaria Toolkit Treatment in Schools, Lessons Learned from Malawi - This paper published by Save the Children looks at the impact of Pupil Treatment Kits (PTKs) which were introduced to school children to provide immediate in-school treatment for malaria and minor illnesses and injuries among children.
Worms and Malaria in Kenyan pre-school and primary school children - The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published this paper on malarial parasitemia found in a cross-sectional study in Kenyan preschool and primary school children.
Malaria at a glance - this is a malaria paper published by the World Bank as part of their "at a glance" series. This examines the importance of tackling malaria, with practical suggestions of what can be done to reduce morbidity and mortality.