As the international community marks World Malaria Day 2023, the IRC reflects on another year of providing lifesaving treatment to communities impacted by this disease around the globe.
Over the past year alone, the IRC has provided 394,798 malaria treatments to children under five years old around the world. These treatments were provided to children by community health workers who ensure children in need are treated. Children under the age of five are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of malaria – in 2021, more than three-quarters of the 619,000 people who died from malaria worldwide were children in this age group.
“World Malaria Day is an occasion to reflect both on the power of effective public health programs as well as the fundamental challenge that remains: extending the tremendous gains achieved against malaria in stable settings to people affected by conflict and crisis.” said Mesfin Teklu Tessema, Senior Technical Director of Health at the IRC. “The global health sector has made remarkable strides against malaria in recent decades, including the introduction of groundbreaking malaria vaccines. Yet the burden of malaria and gaps in access to lifesaving prevention and treatment remain unacceptably high in fragile settings, mainly in the African continent. IRC is committed to scaling innovative delivery models that can bring malaria programming and other essential health services the last mile in the most challenging settings. Building on the success of the global malaria response to ensure that people in crisis settings are not left behind will bring us closer to the movement’s goal of a world where malaria is a painful memory rather than a persistent threat.”
Malaria remains a persistent threat where the IRC works, particularly in Africa, where roughly 95% of cases and deaths from malaria occur. IRC trains and supports community health workers (CHWs) in fragile, conflict affected areas and hard-to-reach communities, where malaria prevention and treatment may have been disrupted and where malnutrition and other diseases may make the burden heavier. Thousands of CHWs have provided community based malaria care for children under 5 in 10 countries: Cote d’Ivoire and Liberia, Sudan and South Sudan, Chad and Burkina Faso, and Central African Republic, Uganda, and Ethiopia, as well as Myanmar.
The IRC also supports care in health facilities, mobile health units, and in clinics for displaced persons, allowing children and adults to access malaria and other needed care. Such support includes the prophylaxis for malaria where needed in pregnancy care. It also includes supporting bed net distribution and ensuring water and sanitation programs reduce standing water where malaria mosquitoes breed.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of International Rescue Committee.