Malaria is an infectious disease caused by a parasite that is transmitted to people by mosquito bites. Approximately half of the world's population is at risk of contracting malaria, though most cases and deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa. In Zambia, malaria affects more than four million people, accounts for around 30% of outpatient visits, and results in nearly 8,000 deaths each year. Malaria is responsible for 20% of maternal mortality and 35-50% of deaths in children under age five.
And yet, malaria is both treatable and preventable. There are a number of measures that Zambians can take to defend against malaria. Chief among these is educating themselves about how they can be protected from getting malaria in the first place. Avoiding mosquito bites is the way to do this, either through always sleeping under an insecticide-treated net (ITN), or by taking advantage of indoor residual spraying (IRS) programs offered in a many districts in Zambia. Pregnant women should make sure to visit antenatal care facilities where they can have access to intermittent presumptive treatment for malaria several times over the course of their pregnancies.
CHAMP, with the aid of the Communications Support for Health project is working to roll back malaria by providing information, counselling, and referral services related to this devastating killer to the Zambian people through the toll-free, 24-hour 990 Talkline.