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Analytical summary - Malaria

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Malaria is one of the most serious public health problems in Sierra Leone. It is the most common cause of illness and death in the country, accounting for about 50% of outpatient visits and 38% of admissions. Malaria-related illnesses contribute to 38% and 25% of child and all-ages mortality rates, respectively. The most vulnerable groups include children aged under 5 years and pregnant women.[1]

The 2011 Sierra Leone service availability and readiness assessment[2] reported that over 24% of children aged under 5 years had malaria in the 2 weeks preceding the survey and that 26% of children aged under 5 years and 27% of pregnant women slept under insecticide-treated nets. The survey also reported that only 15% of children with fever received antimalarial medicines within 24 hours of onset of symptoms and less than 2% of children under 5 years received drugs within 24 hours.[2]

Malaria control has progressed significantly, especially in the area of prevention. In November 2010, Sierra Leone conducted a 1-week National Integrated Maternal and Child Health Campaign to provide health interventions, which included the distribution of over 3.2 million long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLINs) to all households in the country. The campaign aimed to achieve 100% household possession of LLINs.[3]

In June 2011, 6 months after this universal access campaign, 87% of households had at least one LLIN, and 67% had more than one LLIN. A total of 36% of households had at least one LLIN for every two household members, and 83% of households had at least one member sleeping under an LLIN. In addition, 73% of children aged under 5 years and 77% of pregnant women slept under an LLIN the night before the survey. Among households possessing at least one LLIN, 80% of children under 5 years and 88% of pregnant women slept under an LLIN. Correct knowledge of malaria transmission was high, as 97% of household heads recognized mosquito bites as a cause of malaria.[3]

These results clearly represent a substantial improvement in LLIN coverage estimates compared with the Malaria Indicator Survey conducted in 2010.[3][4]

The Ministry of Health and Sanitation has adopted strategies and interventions for malaria control in the country as proposed by the Roll Back Malaria Change Initiative.[3] The National Malaria Control Programme is the first point of contact in the Ministry for all technical matters relating to malaria and is responsible for the coordination of malaria control activities in the country, in accordance with the on-going decentralization process.

At district level, coordination is carried out by the various district health management teams in collaboration with local district councils. At community level, the trained health worker serves as a link between the programme, district health management teams and chiefdom/village development committees.[5]

In addition to resources provided by the Government of Sierra Leone, malaria control is funded by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

References

  1. Sierra Leone health and demographic survey, 2008: key findings (pdf 3.15Mb). Calverton, Maryland, Statistics Sierra Leone and ICF Macro, 2009
  2. 2.0 2.1 Sierra Leone service availability and readiness assessment (pdf 4.9Mb). Government of Sierra Leone, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, 2011>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Sierra Leone LLIN universal access campaign post-campaign ownership and use survey (pdf 941.6kb). Government of Sierra Leone, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, 2011
  4. Sierra Leone survey report: coverage of malaria control interventions in Sierra Leone. Government of Sierra Leone, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, 2010
  5. National Malaria Control Programme Policy. Government of Sierra Leone, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, 2005