Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Equatorial Guinea Malaria Program Reduces Infant Mortality by One Third

Equatorial Guinea's (Republica de Guinea Ecuatorial) Malaria Control Project, a public-private partnership between the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Marathon Oil Corporation, and Medical Care Development International (MCDI) report a reduction in infant mortality in nearly a third of the population on the Island of Bioko. As part of this national program which includes intensive public information campaigns, the government has begun providing medicine and medical treatment for those infected, spraying, and distribution of free mosquito nets to pregnant women throughout the country.

Research carried out by the Malaria Control Project team on the Island of Bioko, funded by the government of Equatorial Guinea and a private consortium led by Marathon Oil Corporation, showed a reduction in infant mortality in nearly one third of the population. These results demonstrate an increase in child survival after four years of intensive malaria control, results that were recently showcased in the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Equatorial Guinea's Island of Bioko has achieved the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals for the reduction of child mortality by 2015 far ahead of schedule.

The government's national malaria program includes free treatment for patients that test positive for malaria infection, with special attention paid to pregnant women since they face higher risk, distribution of government sponsored insecticide-treated mosquito nets and preventative treatments against malaria. This is part of a broader effort by the government and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to improve public health for its citizens.

Prevention plays a very important role in the fight against malaria; the government has launched a free mass spraying of houses on the Island of Bioko and more than half of the continental area, with plans to spread across the whole region. Further, as part of the public information campaigns, teams distribute informative brochures, leaflets and talk to people about prevention measures.

The Malaria Control Project is a fundamental part of the government-wide effort to meet all the Millennium Development Goals set by United Nations.