May 27, 2018
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April 25 is World Malaria Day






The secret weapon in fight against global killer

April 25 is World Malaria Day


NEW YORK (April 23, 2009)—Malaria kills up to 1 million people each year—mostly children under five, more than 90 percent of them from sub-Saharan Africa. Half the world’s population—3.3 billion people in 109 countries—are at risk, and almost 250 million contract the disease each year.


“A vaccine is probably many years away, if not still a dream,” says Michelle Kouletio, Health Advisor for Concern Worldwide, the international relief and development agency. “But we have the tools to effectively prevent and treat malaria.” she adds, and “a simple solution with dramatic results is the distribution of long-lasting and insecticide-treated mosquito nets and showing people how to use them.”


“Mobilizing communities to manage their own health care is the secret weapon of our Rwanda program,” says Kouletio. “Simply distributing nets is not enough. That’s only part of the solution—the second vital ingredient is education. Knowledge is power: community health volunteers show their neighbors how to safely hang the nets in the small, crowded homes where the most vulnerable children often live.”


In Rwanda, Concern began distributing subsidized nets to pregnant women in 2004. The program was so successful that the Rwandan government was able to secure Global Funds to procure millions of nets to distribute to all families with young children. Just months after the October 2006 net campaign, the number of cases of malaria was cut in half, reports Kouletio, who oversees the USAID funded Expanded Impact Child Survival program, a Concern led partnership with the International Rescue Committee and World Relief.  It covers six districts reaching 20 percent of all Rwandans.


 “These nets only cost less than $8 apiece and, once distributed, the nets provide protection for several years—at a cost far less than the $20 cost of spraying of homes with insecticide, a procedure that has to be repeated several times a year and poses environmental health hazards,” Kouletio explains.




Concern trains and forges connections among community elders, healthcare professionals, government officials, and the families themselves. Specially trained and equipped Community Healthcare Workers (CHWs) are at the core of this community effort.


Concern trains the CHWs to instantly identify symptoms—fever, chills, convulsions—and to educate families about potentially harmful home remedies and traditional healing practices. “The CHWs,” says Kouletio, “provide treatment on the spot to children with symptoms of uncomplicated malaria.”


“They are well known and trusted members of the community,” she says, “with ready access to families’ homes.”  They are the “ordinary heroes” who are at the heart of this treatment of malaria. “Having health care workers based in the community is essential,” continues Kouletio—“they can intervene rapidly—and time is of the essence.”


“In its past two years alone, our program has treated more than 180,000 Rwandan children under five for malaria,” reports Kouletio. The success of this program has brought about significant changes in the country’s policy for treating malaria and has opened the door for community treatment of the other two leading child killers, pneumonia and diarrhea.


Concern works in 28 of the world’s poorest countries, including 17 sub-Saharan African nations, and reaches some 23 million people. The organization’s goal is the ultimate elimination of extreme poverty and the reduction of suffering. The organization’s programs focus on emergency relief and long-term development work in the areas of health, HIV and AIDS, livelihoods and education. Concern’s education programs are benefitting more than 465,000 people in 12 countries.


Joop Koopman

Office +1 212- 557- 8000 |  Mobile +1 917 608 1989



Joop Koopman

Media & Communications

Concern Worldwide U.S.

212 557 8000/ 917 608 1989 (m)

Concern is reaching more than 12 million people in 28 of the world's poorest countries across Africa, Asia and the Caribbean with programs focusing on Emergencies, Health, HIV&AIDS, Education and Livelihoods. 

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