Probably the best news in the world!
A recent article in the Economist focuses on the great news: that child mortality in Africa is dropping at unprecedented rates. 16 out of 20 African countries are reporting falls in child-mortality rates. Twelve countries are experiencing falls over 4.4 % a year which is the rate required to meet the 2015 UN Millennium Development Goals. Senegal, Rwanda and Kenya are witnessing even larger falls in child-mortality with a decrease of more than 8% a year.
Many factors are at play when explaining these positive developments on the African continent but World Bank experts point especially to three significant factors; overall economic growth in Africa, improved public health policies and the extensive use of treated mosquito nets, the so called long lasting insecticide incorporated nets (LLINs).
World Bank economist Mr. Gabriel Demombynes uses Kenya as case story when he explains how mosquito nets contribute to reducing child-mortality significantly.
According to Mr. Demombynes Kenya increased the use of treated bednets from 8% of all households in 2003 to 60% in 2008. Using figures on the geographical variation of malaria, he calculated that half the overall drop in Kenya’s infant mortality can be explained by the huge rise in the use of LLINs in areas where malaria is endemic.
Bestnet A/S is the manufacturer of the WHO (WHOPES) recommended LLIN Netprotect® and has since 2004 provided NGOs, UN organizations and Ministries of Health all over Africa with millions of bednets for malaria prevention and control.
“This is amazing news full of hope,” says Trine Sig Bestnet’s Managing Director but she is also cautious about celebrating too soon because the fact is that the global funding for malaria prevention is dropping drastically.
The drop in funding ultimately threatens to undermine the great achievements and results obtained over the last decade in the pursuit of eliminating malaria. According to the WHO an estimated 655,000 persons died of malaria in 2010. Eighty-six percent of the victims were children under 5 years of age – the majority from Africa.