A new report by Roll Back Malaria partnership shows that recent investments in malaria control efforts in Malawi have helped reduce significantly malaria deaths and cases among children under the age of five.
The report, released last week, reveals that malaria parasite prevalence dropped from 62 percent in 2001 to 20 percent in 2009 and that between 2000 and 2010 under-five mortality decreased by 41 percent from 188 to 112 deaths per 1000 live births.
Ministry of Health publicist Henry Chimbali said the findings bring comfort to the Ministry, but said more efforts were needed to reduce the prevalence further.
He explained that the Ministry was involved in the compilation of the report together with Global Fund and other partners.
The report attributes the successes in the malaria fight, in part, to the existence of a public network of antenatal care clinics, where preventive treatment for pregnant women became part of antenatal care services.
Another contributing factor was Malawi’s sound capacity to conduct operational research.
Malawi was the first country in Africa to start treating pregnant women with SP in 1993, nearly a decade ahead of the initial WHO recommendation, issued in 2002.
Malaria is highly endemic in Malawi and nearly the entire population is at risk of malaria infection. Year-round transmission occurs in almost every part of the country.
Transmission increases with the seasonal rains that typically begin in November-December and last through March-April in most of Malawi.
Malaria transmission is highest in the hotter, wetter and more humid low-lying areas, while the lowest risk areas are in the highlands of the Northern Region and the Kirk Range in the Southern Region.
Malawi has been successful in attracting external funding to support its malaria control activities. From approximately $8 million in 2006, external partner funding has grown to $32 million in 2010—a four-fold increase in support.
Funding for malaria control in Malawi has come mainly from four sources, the Government of Malawi, the Global Fund, the US-PMI, and households.