In 2008, there were 247 million cases of malaria and nearly one million deaths - mostly among children living in Africa. In Africa a child dies every 45 seconds of Malaria, the disease accounts for 20% of all childhood deaths. (WHO) Approximately half of the world's population is at risk of malaria. Most malaria cases and deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa. However, Asia, Latin America, and to a lesser extent the Middle East and parts of Europe are also affected. (WHO)
People with HIV/AIDS are at increased risk of malaria and HIV infected pregnant women who contract malaria are at higher risk of transmitting HIV to their infant due to damage caused to the placenta.
Over time, adults, who live in areas endemic to malaria, may develop resistance to malaria though not entirely. Children, however, are still developing their immune systems and are therefore at greater risk of contracting malaria and dying from it.
Bed nets have been shown to greatly reduce malaria morbidity and mortality, especially in children under 2. A study of bed net usage in western Kenya reports a 25 percent reduction in death among children.
Even where insecticide-treated nets have been recommended for all children under 5 for years, most children do not sleep under a bed net. A long-lasting insecticide-treated bed net costs an average of $2.50, and this cost is far beyond the reach of most families in poor rural African communities who survive through subsistence farming.
In Kenya insecticide-treated bed nets are recommended for all mothers and are often distributed in antenatal clinics. Bed nets are also distributed by AMPATH through our home-based counseling and testing program.