Research news: January 2009
Lancet 2008 doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(08)61596-2
Bed nets treated with insecticide are one of the best ways to protect children from malaria in endemic parts of Africa. Distribution across the continent has been slow, however, with almost 90 million children under 5 years still without them. Recent estimates suggest that although coverage increased from 1.8% to 18.5% between 2000 and 2007, 89.6 million children remain unprotected and at risk from falciparum malaria. Researchers estimated coverage from local and national surveys in 40 countries and projected likely coverage for 2007.
Their study suggests that more than half of the children without bed nets (48.3/89.6 million, 54%) live in seven countries—Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Sudan, Mozambique, Côte d’Ivoire, and Cameroon—where coverage was less than 15% in 2007. International efforts to control malaria should focus on these countries first, say researchers. About a quarter of unprotected children live in Nigeria alone.
Experts are still