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Malaria prevention

Long lasting insecticidal nets

The malaria parasite is carried by the female Anopheles mosquito, which bites between dusk and dawn, therefore, mosquito nets treated with insecticides provide a critical line of defence against the spread of malaria. It is estimated that treated nets can avert around 50 percent of malaria cases and reduce all-cause child mortality by approximately 18 percent.

Insecticide treated nets can protect families from the bites of mosquitoes (and other night time biting insects) and reduce the overall number of mosquitoes by killing those that come into contact with the net. Long lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) are mosquito nets with insecticide incorporated into the material or bound around the fibres during manufacture. They are increasingly replacing untreated nets or conventionally treated nets, which need regular retreatment with insecticide. LLINs can be washed 20 times and used for three years without retreatment, making them more cost effective. 

Malaria Consortium plays an important role in the distribution and promotion of the use of LLINs. We are developing context specific models for continuous distribution of LLINs through channels such as antenatal clinics, routine immunisations, schools and community based delivery systems. We are also working with the commercial sector to build up the net market. We are also frequently involved in mass net distributions to support government and Global Fund efforts to achieve universal coverage in country contexts.

To find out more about our work with the private sector, please visit our section on PRIVATE SECTOR ENGAGEMENT. For our wide-ranging work in net distribution and use, please visit our resources database.

Insecticide spraying

There are three types of spraying used against mosquitoes: 

Indoor residual spraying  involves spraying the internal surfaces of houses to kill adult mosquitoes. It is one of the most powerful malaria control measures, lowering malaria incidence by reducing the life span of the mosquito,  the mosquito population and human/mosquito contact.

Space spraying is most commonly used as a control measure during malaria epidemics. It involves spraying a 'fog' of insecticide into the air and requires large resources of insecticide and specialist equipment to be effective, rendering it  only a short-term solution.

Larval Control is the chemical spraying of water sources to kill mosquito larvae preventing or reducing mosquito breeding sites. Mosquito larvae eating fish have also been used as a biological control in wells and irrigation canals. We have been using this approach in our dengue control work in Southeast Asia.

For more information, please visit our VECTOR CONTROL page.

Seasonal malaria chemoprevention

In the continued fight against malaria, there is an increased recognition of the need to tailor interventions to suit local conditions and specific contexts. The World Health Organization estimates that 31 million children could benefit from seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) in areas where malaria incidence increases with the rainy season.

SMC involves the provision of antimalarial medicines at monthly intervals during the rainy season, and has been proven to be effective in reducing cases of malaria by 75 percent. If this level of prevention is achieved at scale, this would transform the lives of those most at risk by avoiding infection and consequently reducing the demand for treatments at community and facility level, improving school attendance, and decreasing government expenditure on malaria – freeing up these funds for use elsewhere. If widely deployed, SMC could make an important contribution to reducing the global malaria burden.

Malaria Consortium is continuing to help protect millions of children from malaria during the rainy season. We are working with national governments and international partners to help secure additional resources so that more children can benefit from this highly effective approach to malaria prevention, both now and into the future.

Read more about this programme here.

Intermittent preventive treatment

Intermittent preventive treatment involves the administration of a full course of anti-malarial drugs to vulnerable subjects at specified times regardless of whether or not they have malaria. It is particularly targeted at children and pregnant women in high risk areas. Intermittent preventive treatment for malaria in pregnancy is provided to women in high malaria burden countries during during their pregnancy to protect both them and their unborn child from malaria.

Read more about our work on malaria in pregancy here.

Communication and information

Without support and information to raise awareness and understanding of malaria and how to protect themselves, communities will not be able to benefit fully from improved provision of health services and malaria commodities such as LLINs.

Social behaviour change or public health communications is an approach that aims to help people gain the awareness, knowledge and ability to participate in their own development and take control of their own wellbeing. In the context of malaria prevention, we use this approach to encourage individuals and communities at risk from the disease to change their perspectives and behaviour as they learn how to control the impact of the disease on their lives, while creating demand for and sustained use of malaria services and products.

The disease, the process of its transmission, and the range of preventive measures available are complex. The connection between actions to control malaria and the illness people suffer may not be obvious to those living in malaria-endemic areas. However, without the cooperation of these potential beneficiaries, the success of Roll Back Malaria’s Action and Investment to Defeat Malaria 2016-2030 will be limited.

For more information on malaria prevention, please visit our PUBLIC HEALTH COMMUNICATIONS page.

For more information on the global strategy to fight malaria, please visit our GLOBAL RESPONSE page.