A new survey by the World Health Organization on the impact of widespread distribution of free bed nets combined with anti-malarial medicines notes some very positive results. Here are some excerpts and summaries:
In Ethiopia, deaths of children from malaria dropped more than 50 percent. In Rwanda, they dropped more than 60 percent in only two months.
Zambia had only about a 33 percent drop in overall deaths because nets ran short and many districts ran out of medicine. But those areas without such problems had 50 to 60 percent reductions.
“We saw a very drastic impact,” said Dr. Arata Kochi, chief of malaria for the W.H.O., “If this is done everywhere, we can reduce the disease burden 80 to 85 percent in most African countries within five years”
He estimates this 5-year campaign would cost about $10 billion and would reduce the death rate due to malaria to thousands per year rather than millions per year who now die.