Malaria: Africa's Success Story

Well-funded prevention effort brings down infection rates
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2008 9:45 AM CST
President George W. Bush meets workers producing insecticide mosquito nets, used to combat malaria, during a visit to A to Z textile mills in Arusha, Tanzania, Monday, Feb. 18, 2008. (AP Photo/Charles...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A new anti-malaria effort will provide a mosquito net to every Tanzanian child under age 5, reports the Washington Post. President Bush visited northern Tanzania yesterday to announce the program, spotlighting Africa's hugely successful fight against malaria, with committed African and Western governments collaborating on the well-funded strategy. In Zanzibar, the children's infection rate has dropped from 20% to 1% in just 3 years.

While Zanzibar, off the Tanzanian coast, has seen especially striking reductions, other countries have made impressive breakthroughs: a 60% drop in two years in Ethiopia, a 64% fall in Rwanda. A combination of techniques—nets, sprays, drugs, and education—has transformed malaria from "the No. 1 disease" to a rare affliction, said one doctor. "Our challenge now is to keep the morbidity down."