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Children are among those most at risk

Malaria is an illness spread through the bites of female mosquitoes who are infected with parasites. If untreated, it can be deadly, and it progresses rapidly.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 94% of malaria cases and deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa.

But it is found in many places around the world - in 2019 there were an estimated 229 million cases of malaria worldwid, with children younger than 5 being the most vulnerable. 

What are the symptoms of malaria?*

*This information should not be used to diagnose. If you or someone you know is at risk, seek professional medical advice.

Early symptoms of malaria include a mild fever, chills and headache, all of which appear within 10-15 days after an infectious mosquito bite. It can often be tricky to diagnose early on.

Children with severe malaria frequently develop symptoms of severe anaemia (e.g. fatique, dizziness, pale skin) or respiratory distress. 


How Save the Children is fighting malaria

We treat cases of malaria in vulnerable children across our global programmes.

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

The situation:

One in ten children growing up in the DRC dies before they reach their fifth birthday. 

We're working towards ending preventable new-born and child deaths from common childhood diseases, including malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoea and neonatal conditions. 

What we're doing:

  • supporting community health workers (CHWs) and government-run health facilities
  • improving communities' ability to access quality health services
  • providing 146 bicycles to CHWs in May and Jun 2017, helping them to travel to those in need of care 
  • training 146 CHWs between September and December 2016, with the aim of strengthening their capacity to provide basic care for malaria, as well as diarrhoea, pneumonia and malnutrition
  • training health professionals.


Simon's Story

Cyclone Idai response

In the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, the contamination of water sources, damaged sanitation systems and large areas of stagnant flood water have created perfect conditions for disease to spread fast. There has been a drastic spike in malaria, with over 9,000 cases now recorded.

We’re distributing mosquito nets to protect families against this life-threatening disease, and our Emergency Health Unit is providing essential treatment via mobile health teams that are travelling to the worst-hit areas, where people are struggling to access health facilities.

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