Insecticide-treated Bednet Halves Malarial Death Risk for Infants

by VR Sreeraman on Sep 22 2007 5:33 PM

Insecticide-treated Bednet Halves Malarial Death Risk for Infants
Using insecticide-treated bednets can nearly halve deaths from malaria among children aged under five, according to a study in Kenya published in Saturday's Lancet.
Kenya scaled up distribution of the nets in 2004, when only seven percent of the population had access to this anti-mosquito screen. Last year, the figure was 67 percent.

Greg Fegan of the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Kilifi, Kenya, led a team to investigate the success of the initiative.

They examined 3,500 children once a year over three years, in four rural districts -- Bondo, Kwale, Makueni and Kisii.

Exactly 100 children died during the key first two years of the study. But the death rate among children who did not have a recently-treated bednet was 44 percent higher compared to those with the net.

The findings, published in the peer-reviewed Lancet, confirm figures issued by the Kenyan government in August.

The UN's World Health Organisation (WHO) is calling for the distribution of free treated nets as low-cost weapon against malaria.

The disease affects more than a billion people worldwide and kills a million -- mainly under age five -- every year, the vast majority in sub-Saharan Africa.


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