Beating malaria with bed nets
According to new research published in the Lancet, there has been a huge increase in the number of children protected from malaria by the use of insecticide treated bed nets, which keep out the mosquitoes that carry the disease. Now around 20 million children are benefiting from the protection of these simple but effective devices.
The researchers found that in the year 2000, only 1.7 million - that's 1.8% - of African children living malaria areas were protected by bed nets. But by 2007 this had risen to more than 20 million, or 18.5% of kids.
But this still means that some 90 million kids are still unprotected. Around a third live in some of the poorest areas of Africa, and a quarter live in Nigeria alone. As you might expect, use of insecticide bed nets was higher in areas were they had been given out for free by aid and health organisations.
The results came out of a study to map bed net use, to help health organisations to find the best way to prevent diseases by targeting their resources. It's clear from the study that more funding for bed nets, and education about using them, would make a big difference in protecting children's health across Africa.