Ten things you may not have known about the malaria epidemic in Africa:
- Malaria has been estimated to cost Africa more than US$ 12 billion every year in lost GDP.
- Malaria is Africa's leading cause of under-five mortality.
- Most malaria infections in Africa south of the Sahara are caused by Plasmodium falciparum, the most virulent species of malaria pathogen.
- Malaria kills an African child every 30 seconds.
- Resistance to chloroquine, the cheapest and most widely used antimalarial, is common throughout Africa (particularly in southern and eastern parts of the continent).
- Malaria accounts for 30-50% of inpatient admissions, and up to 50% of outpatient visits, in areas with high malaria transmission.
- Around 90% of all malaria deaths worldwide occur in Africa, mostly in young children.
- Up to 30% of Africa’s malaria deaths are in countries undergoing "complex emergencies," i.e. situations in which war, civil strife, food shortages and displacement affect large civilian populations.
- The cost of effective malaria control in Africa would be just US$ 2 billion per year.
- On April 25, 2000, leaders from 44 malaria-endemic African nations meeting at the African Summit on Malaria in Abuja, Nigeria, signed the Abuja Declaration, committing their governments to an intensive effort to halve the burden of malaria in Africa by 2010.
Today is Africa Malaria Day. For more information about the epidemic and Africa Malaria Day, please visit the Roll Back Malaria Partnership. And consider signing the ONE Campaign to eliminate world poverty. Rates of poverty and malaria are closely linked, so anything that can be done to reduce the former will almost certainly have an effect on the other.