Malaria is an infectious disease caused by several species of parasites transmitted by mosquitoes. About 2 million deaths per year occur due to malaria, the majority of them being children. The largest numbers of deaths and infections occur in sub-Saharan African countries.

Malaria signs and symptoms: After the initial mosquito bite, the incubation period is usually about one to three weeks but may range from a few days to about one year in some individuals. The initial symptoms are flu-like with fever, chills, muscle aches, and headaches. A cough, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea could develop and within a few days, cycles of chills (shaking chills), fever, and sweating episodes that repeat every one, two, or three days is typical for malaria patients.

Launched in 2005, the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) is a five-year, US$1.2 billion U.S. government program, which aims to reduce the malaria burden and relieve poverty in Africa.

Specifically, PMI strives to reduce malaria-related deaths by 50 percent in 19 high-burden countries – protecting approximately 450 million people
It is known that four highly effective interventions can prevent and treat malaria, especially among vulnerable populations (pregnant women and children under five years of age). Those interventions are:

  • Insecticide-treated mosquito nets,
  • Indoor residual spraying with insecticides,
  • Intermittent preventive treatment for pregnant women, and
  • Prompt use of artemisinin-based combination therapies for people diagnosed with malaria.

In Ghana, malaria accounts for 9.4% of deaths among pregnant women, thus malaria in pregnancy is associated with complications such as maternal anemia, spontaneous abortions/preterm births, pre-maturity and low birth weight as well as the affect of intermittent preventive treatment for pregnant women. Removal of stress and nutrition has a direct impact upon preterm birth and low
birth weight complications.

There are no vaccines for malaria and those who live in highly susceptible regions usually are unable to access repellants, insecticides, and in far too many cases bed-nets. FRF is committed to working with local regions, hospitals, and clinics to provide education, supplies, and access.

Malaria can be treated and prevented:

  • Malaria is usually treated by using combinations of two or more anti-parasite drugs.
  • Infants, children, and pregnant females, along with immune-suppressed patients are at higher risk for worse outcomes when infected with malaria parasites.
  • To reduce the chance of getting malaria it is important to use mosquito repellents, cover exposed skin, and use mosquito netting covered areas when sleeping.
  • It is important to check for ticks.
  • HIV (AIDS) and malaria co-infection is a significant problem across Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Malaria poses a serious threat to a pregnant woman and her fetus.
  • Statistics indicate that in sub-Saharan Africa, between 75,000-200,000 infants die from malaria per year. Malaria is a particular problem for children.
  • Insecticides and repellants can be effective in preventing mosquito bites.