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Great majority of populations with access to nets use them for the intended purpose (Politics Home)

24 July 2015

This article was originally published on Politics Home.

Malaria Consortium was disappointed to read the criticism of the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in The Times and Daily Mail today.

The Global Fund is a highly effective partnership of governments, civil society, technical agencies, the private sector and people affected by AIDS, TB and malaria. The partnership invests nearly $4 billion a year in programmes that prevent, treat and care for people affected by the three diseases.

The distribution of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) in the past decade has, without any doubt, prevented millions of malaria deaths. World Health Organization data shows that in sub-Saharan Africa malaria infection rates in children aged 2-10 years fell from 26 percent in 2000 to 14 percent in 2013. During the same period, estimated death rates decreased by 54 percent in the WHO African Region. This coincided with an increase in ITN use. An estimated 44 percent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa were sleeping under an ITN in 2013, compared to 2 percent in 2004.

Several studies in various African countries have shown that the great majority of populations with access to nets use them for the intended purpose. Access to nets is among the main factors that determine use rates. While continued awareness and community education on proper use of nets is needed, misuse of nets for unintended purposes is not a widespread problem, and increased coverage of these essential prevention tools has significantly contributed to the reduction in malaria deaths and overall child mortality in Africa.

HIV, tuberculosis and malaria – diseases that are preventable and treatable – continue to kill millions of people around the world. But global health partners have made remarkable gains. Advances in science, such as today’s announcement of a potential new malaria vaccine, and better implementation of programmes present the world with a historic opportunity to end the three diseases as epidemics.

 

Keywords: Advocacy and policy

 

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