April 24, 2009

Malaria Death Rates Drop Drastically In Zambia

A surprising 66 percent drop in the death rate as a result of malaria has been witnessed in Zambia since the year 2000, making the country a leader in treatment for Africans, the World Health Organization reported on Thursday. 

According to the Associated Press, the UN agency attributes the significant progress in combating the disease to the distribution of 3.6 million long-lasting insecticidal nets in the last several years. "Zambia's efforts will be promoted as models for other countries to follow on the occasion of World Malaria Day, on 25 April," the UN agency said. 

From 2006 to 2008, "malaria deaths declined 47 percent and nationwide surveys showed parasite prevalence declined 53 percent from 21.8 percent to 10.2 percent and the percentage of children with severe anemia declined 68 percent from 13.3 percent to 4.3 percent," a WHO statement said.

Malaria took the lives of 2,157 individuals in 2008, which was less than half of the total 4,765 registered by the WHO in Zambia in 2004.

WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Luis Gomes Sambo, believes "this is a remarkable achievement and a tribute to the hard work and commitment of the Ministry of Health of Zambia and its partners to combat malaria."

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has additionally been a prominent supporter in the efforts to combat Malaria.  In 2003, the international financing institution assisted in distribution of nets to exterminate insects in seven pilot districts, as well as to launch artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), including an anti-malarial drug. 

A recommendation presented by WHO proposes that a change to ACT treatment should be enforced wherever the malaria parasite is prevalent and the formerly used drug chlorpquine has proven impotent. 


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