Policy Brief Infectious Diseases, Malaria in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (drc) From: Secretary of Health, drc to: Minister of Finance, drc introduction

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Affected Populations:

Our children bear the majority of the burden of both the morbidity and mortality of malaria. Not only are children at a greater risk of becoming infected with malaria, but they are at a much higher risk of dying as well. Out of the 5,008,956 reported cases of malaria, 2,380,535 were in children under five and out of the 24,347 malaria deaths reported, 15,032 were in children under five.ix

Pregnant women are at a two-or threefold higher risk of developing severe disease due to a malaria infection than are non-pregnant adults living in the same area. The increased risk of malaria during pregnancy is due to malaria-related anemia.x
Populations living in rural areas have a higher rate of incidence of malaria but receive less treatment than urban areas. The use of ITNs by children in urban areas far outnumbers the rates in rural areas, despite the higher incidence of malaria. xi Antenatal clinic attendance is the best available measure to gauge how many women receive intermittent preventive treatment (IPT). Currently, while over 80% of urban women attend an antenatal clinic at least once, attendance in rural women is roughly 60%. xii
Risk factors:
Malaria is a preventable and treatable disease—the risk factors for morbidity and mortality from the disease are intimately linked with access to ITNs and prompt access to treatment. Sleeping under an ITN is proven to be critical to prevent infection. However, only 19% of children under five sleeps under a mosquito net and only 5.8% sleep under an ITN. Similarly, only 20% of women sleep under a net and only 7.10% sleep under an ITN.xiii
A lack of appropriate and timely treatment of malaria places those infected at high risk for death. 29.8% of children under five with fever are receiving anti-malarial drugs and 17.30% received treatment within the first 24 hours.xiv IPT in pregnant women is crucial in order to avoid the negative effects on the mother and the child. However, only 12% of pregnant women received SP during a prenatal visit, and only 5.2% received IPT with ACT, the first-line anti-malarial drugs.xv

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