SEATTLE — Tanzania, located in eastern Sub-Sahara Africa, has 93 percent of its population living in areas where malaria is transmitted. However, over the past 10 years, malaria death rates in Tanzania dropped by over 50 percent in adults and 53 percent in children. This drop is due to funding from local governments and the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI).
The PMI Plan
Since 2006, Tanzania has been a part of PMI. The PMI plan is updated every year to rethink strategies and see what works and what does not. Some PMI programs include indoor residual spraying, social and behavior change communication, surveillance, monitoring and evaluation and operational research. There has also been a procurement of more than 9.5 million insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) since 2005. Thanks to these efforts, the malaria death rate in Tanzania is significantly lower than average in children and adults.
According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, by 2040 an expected $31.2 billion will be spent on healthcare, most of it from government spending. With a budget of $40 million for 2018, the PMI added pre-elimination to the list of programs. The Global Fund New Funding Model planned a budget of $145.2 million to improve the quality of care in children with malaria.
Most recently, to keep malaria death rates in Tanzania low, USAID is working on a 2015-2020 plan that consistently takes into account the progress and challenges faced in the past decade. With this strategy, children and pregnant women are given a greater focus.
Pregnant Women and Malaria
In 2017, over 500,000 structures were sprayed, protecting more than 2.3 million people. A program was launched to provide free ITN delivery to pregnant women. This program from 2017 is still working in 2018 by giving out bed nets and educating pregnant women and new mothers on how they can further work to prevent malaria, as well as the treatments available. All of these programs have contributed to malaria death rates in Tanzania dropping so drastically.
The goal by 2020 is that 85 percent of pregnant women and children under five years old will sleep under an ITN, a 10 percent increase from 2012. By 2020, at least eight million more ITNs will be delivered annually to maintain coverage.
Children and Malaria
Children especially been have affected dramatically by the reduction of deaths from malaria. According to UNICEF, antimalarial treatment among children had a 53.7 percent increase and children sleeping under ITNs increased by 72 percent increase since 2008.
Furthermore, women ages 15-49 who ensured their children sleep under an ITN every night of the year increased from 80 percent to 87 percent. The percentage of these women who protect their children from malaria rose from 82 percent to 85 percent by 2018.
PMI contributions in Tanzania since 2005 include the procurement of 38 million life-saving artemisinin-based combination therapy anti-malarial drugs, and the supply of over 19 million malaria rapid diagnostic tests. Both PMI and local funding has worked successfully in recent years to dramatically lower malaria death rates in Tanzania for everyone, especially pregnant women and children.
– Amber Duffus