Africa bears the greatest burden of malaria, a preventable parasitic disease that kills one million people each year, mostly children. Malaria is transmitted from person to person by the female Anopheles mosquito, which bites only at night. The disease infects the human liver and red blood cells, causing high fevers and flu-like symptoms.
Launched in 2007, the Carter Center's Malaria Control Program today works in partnership with the national programs in Ethiopia and Nigeria — two of the world's most affected countries — to prevent and treat malaria as well as to develop a better understanding of how to fight the disease in the local context.
One of the first major successes of the Malaria Control Program occurred in Ethiopia, where over the course of several months in late 2006 and 2007, The Carter Center purchased and distributed 3 million long-lasting insecticidal bed nets to at-risk communities in the regions where its programs are active. This helped the Ethiopian government reach its goal of providing free bed net protection for all 50 million Ethiopians at risk of infection and to begin prepping baseline activities to reduce the burden of the disease.
Sleeping under a net can be crucial to preventing the disease because the infected mosquitoes that transmit malaria bite only at night. Because of this Carter Center-assisted work, Ethiopia moved from being ranked 34th (2007) in the world for bed net coverage to 6th in 2009.
As of 2012, The Carter Center has helped distribute a cumulative total of nearly 14 million insecticide-treated bed nets in Ethiopia and Nigeria. Read the blog: 10 Million Bed Nets Help Worst-Affected Communities in Nigeria and Ethiopia Fight Malaria >
The Carter Center's Malaria Control Program stems from more than two decades of Carter Center efforts at the grassroots in Ethiopia and Nigeria to improve health infrastructure and fight neglected diseases such as Guinea worm, trachoma, and river blindness.
Long-lasting insecticidal bed nets, like the one presented to Mrs. Hlmenlike by former First Lady Rosalynn Carter in January 2007, have been distributed throughout Ethiopia and Nigeria.
In addition, the Malaria Control Program provides support to national programs for malaria surveys and is a leader in the development of routine surveillance activities that provide essential information to inform programmatic and policy decisions and to ensure that limited resources can be distributed where and when they are needed most. The Carter Center also engages in rigorous evaluations of its own programmatic activities, in keeping with its strong commitment to evidence-based practice.
The Center also conducts innovative operational research and trials new ideas at scale to develop recommendations for improving the delivery and use of malaria interventions for both prevention and treatment of the disease — providing direct benefits to Nigeria and Ethiopia, but also offering tested examples other countries could replicate.
Improving Efficiency and Building Capacity
The Carter Center's Malaria Control Program stems from more than two decades of Carter Center efforts at the grassroots in Ethiopia and Nigeria to improve health infrastructure and fight neglected diseases such as Guinea worm, trachoma, and river blindness. Wherever possible in program areas, the Center has combined program efforts and resources to more efficiently fight multiple diseases at once. For example, the specialized "MalTra Weeks" (malaria and trachoma) in Amhara Region, Ethiopia, provide intensive health education, trachoma treatment, and malaria testing and treatment to almost 20 million people during twice yearly week-long campaigns. These weeks augment other ongoing control activities that are specific to the independent malaria program.
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|In September 2008, The Carter Center, in partnership with the Dominican Republic and Haiti, launched a historic 18-month initiative to help the two countries and their other partners accelerate the elimination of two devastating mosquito-borne infections — malaria and lymphatic filariasis. The initiative stemmed from a 2006 recommendation of the Carter Center's International Task Force for Disease Eradication (ITFDE) that it is "technically feasible, medically desirable, and would be economically beneficial" to eliminate these two parasitic diseases from Hispaniola.|
In Nigeria, The Carter Center is leading efforts to integrate malaria and lymphatic filariasis program activities related to health communication and bed net distribution. Collaboration between the two programs makes sense because the same mosquito transmits both diseases in Africa. Integration can increase efficiency, maximize synergies, and accelerate the scale-up of interventions for both diseases.
In addition, since 2008, the Center, in partnership with the local ministries of health and others is continuing efforts to accelerate the elimination of malaria and lymphatic filariasis from Haiti and the Dominican Republic by supporting four binational meetings on the issue that took place in 2012. The initiative stems from a 2006 recommendation of the Carter Center's International Task Force for Disease Eradication that it is "technically feasible, medically desirable, and would be economically beneficial," to eliminate these two parasitic diseases from Hispaniola. Learn more about the Hispaniola Initiative >