Malaria is a serious disease spread through mosquito bites, and is a leading cause of death, illness, and poor growth and development among young children.
Malaria is particularly dangerous for pregnant women. Millions of pregnant women are exposed to malaria each year. Malaria during pregnancy contributes to low-birthweight babies in endemic areas, plus anaemia, stillbirth and even maternal deaths.
Malaria is spread by the bite of an Anopheles mosquito. The mosquito transfers the malaria parasite, Plasmodium, from person to person. People get very sick with high fevers, diarrhoea, vomiting, headache, chills and flu-like illness. Especially in children, the disease can worsen rapidly. Children under 5 years old are most susceptible to malaria because they have very little acquired immunity to resist it.
Many lives can be saved by preventing malaria and treating it early. Children and their family members have the right to quality health care for prompt and effective treatment and malaria prevention.
Facts to know about malaria:
Malaria is transmitted through the bites of some mosquitoes. Sleeping under an insecticide-treated mosquito net is the best way to prevent mosquito bites.
If malaria is present, children are in danger. A child with a fever should be examined immediately by a trained health worker and receive an appropriate treatment as soon as possible if diagnosed with malaria. Artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) are recommended by WHO for treatment of malaria.
Malaria is very dangerous for pregnant women. Wherever malaria is common, they should prevent malaria by taking antimalarial tablets recommended by a trained health worker and by sleeping under an insecticide-treated mosquito net.
A child suffering or recovering from malaria needs plenty of liquids and foods.