Preventing Malaria

On 2 March, a woman and her child, refugees from Sudan’s Darfur Region, sit on a bed in a UNICEF-supported therapeutic feeding centre in the eastern town of Goz Beïda, Ouaddaï Region.

Every minute, a child dies of a mosquito bite.

Malaria is the third biggest killer of children globally, yet the disease is 100% preventable and treatable, making all malaria deaths unacceptable.  Currently, about 3.2 billion people, almost half of the world's population, are at risk, with children under 5 accounting for more than two-thirds of all deaths associated with the disease.

Some countries carry a heavier share of the malaria burden than others: in 2015, 89 percent of all new cases and 91 percent of deaths were in sub-Saharan Africa. But the good news is that malaria deaths have plunged by 60% since 2000, translating into 6.2 million lives saved, the vast majority of them children's.

The insecticide-treated mosquito net, or ITN, is one of the most effective weapons against malaria. UNICEF is the world's largest provider of these nets, distributing more than 180 million ITNs in sub-Saharan Africa in 2015 alone. In the last 15 years, the number of children under 5 sleeping beneath these nets in sub-Saharan Africa has soared to 68% from less than 2%.

Since 2000, there has been a 20-fold surge in funding for malaria eradication, and a number of donor governments -- including the U.S., through the President's Malaria Initiative -- have made the fight against malaria a high global health priority.

Together, we can help prevent malaria infection and provide access to lifesaving treatment to the world's most vulnerable children.

Fast Fact