Malaria has been a long-standing public health problem in Senegal, particularly in the southern region. In 2005, there were two million recorded cases and at least 2,000 deaths from the disease. Today, there is evidence that these numbers are improving.
Over the past five years, however, the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, of which World Vision is a part, together with Senegal’s national malaria control program, has worked diligently to reduce incidences of and deaths from malaria in Senegal. These efforts have borne great results, including the following:
- The number of confirmed cases of malaria dropped 41 percent in one year – from nearly 300,000 in 2008 to 75,000 in 2009.
- The number of malaria cases in children under five dropped from 400,000 suspected cases in 2006 to 30,000 confirmed cases in 2009
- Overall under-five mortality was reduced by 30 percent between 2005 and 2008-09. Mortality for children aged one to four fell 48 percent
Achieving this required the concerted efforts of local and international organizations, the Senegalese government and communities. Since 2005, nearly six million insecticide-treated mosquito nets have been distributed. As of 2010, 82 percent of households own at least one insecticide-treated mosquito net, representing a 36 percent increase in less than two years.
World Vision in Senegal has supported these efforts by working with partners on an innovative approach to distributing bed nets through local campaigns at the community level. This includes training community volunteers to distribute coupons to household members that were matched to a specific net for that person. This type of distribution helped to assure that bed nets were given to the right hands.
Much has been done to improve access to preventive services and diagnosis – especially for pregnant women. At least 17,000 health workers have been trained to diagnose and treat malaria.
Senegal has also worked with national celebrities and football players, religious leaders, the private sector and nongovernmental and community organizations to educate the general public about malaria.
“World Vision is committed to fighting malaria” says Zari Gill, director of infectious disease – World Vision International. “It is a prime killer of children, especially in Africa. We focus on ending malaria in the most vulnerable: pregnant women and children under five. This progress in Senegal demonstrates that, with collaboration and focus, this is possible.”
Today, April 25, is World Malaria Day. Take time to learn more about malaria and pray for the programs around the world that seek to put an end to this disease.
About World Vision
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve the world’s poor — regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender.