Between 2004 and 2006, annual production of insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets more than doubled, increasing from 30 to 63 million units. This is an excellent result which, according to a report published by the "Roll Back Malaria" Partnership, is a good illustration of the considerable progress made in the fight against this disease.
But although response is gathering pace, the battle is far from over. In sub-Saharan Africa, malaria still kills 800,000 children under the age of 5 every year. The number of mosquito nets purchased by UNICEF more than tripled between 2004 and 2006 and now borders on 25 million units. Which is 20 times more than in 2000.
Another plus point for the Partnership is the fact that these mosquito nets are being increasingly put to use. In particular to protect children. Of the 20 countries in sub-Saharan Africa for which we have data, 16 have at least tripled their coverage since 2000.
In Gambia, around half of all children are covered and in Sao Tome and Principe, Guinea-Bissau and Togo, coverage is around 40%.
As far as treatment is concerned, the situation is less encouraging as only a third of children suffering from malaria receive appropriate medical treatment - ie artemesin-based combination therapy. The Partnership’s aim is to achieve an 80% coverage rate for all anti-malarial action between now and 2010. But this is an objective that is far from being realized.