Malaria is a preventable and treatable disease. The primary objective of treatment is to ensure complete cure. Children under 5 years of age are one of most vulnerable groups affected by malaria. In Africa, about 285 000 children died before their fifth birthdays in 2016. In high transmission areas, partial immunity to the disease is acquired during childhood. In such settings, the majority of malarial disease, and particularly severe disease with rapid progression to death, occurs in young children without acquired immunity.

Common signs and symptoms of Malaria

  • Fever.
  • Chills.
  • Headache.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Muscle pain and fatigue.

Diagnosis and treatment

As with any patient, children with suspected malaria should be taken to a health facility with 24 hours after showing signs and symptoms, and be tested for confirmation of diagnosis before treatment begins, provided that diagnosis does not significantly delay treatment.

Utilizing Mosquito Nets to prevent Malaria

Malaria is responsible for about 40% of all hospitalization of children less than five years old and 34% of all outpatient visits across all ages. There are approximately six million episodes treated annually. Sleeping under treated bed nets is at 56% for children under the age of 5 years and ITN utilization among children tends to decrease with age.  Children less than 12 months old are 1.3 times more likely to sleep under an ITN compared with children age 48-59 months (63% and 49% respectively). Children in rural areas are slightly more likely than children in urban areas to use ITNs (56%  and 54% , respectively). Utilization of mosquito nets among pregnant women is at 51%  and pregnant women in rural areas are more likely to use a net than those from urban areas (47% versus 51% respectively). Among households with at least one ITN 70% of the household members use those nets. Other risk factors for malaria include lack of drainage, rubbish clearing, late treatment seeking behaviour and inadequate indoor residual house spraying.

Current health promotion emphasis/messaging:

  • Prevention of mosquito bites e.g. through sleeping under a net at all times and eliminating the breeding grounds of mosquitoes by keeping  surroundings clean and dry
  • Early and prompt diagnosis and treatment: going to the health facility within 24 hours of a fever, completing treatment.

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Health Education Services
Ministry of Health and population
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Capital City, 
Lilongwe 3.
MALAWI