The unseen burden of malaria

The Journal of Tropical Pediatrics reported on a study in Burkina Faso, which showed that afebrile children infected with Plasmodium falciparum, still suffer the consequences of malaria. A graph summarizing the findings by Ouedraogo and colleagues shows moderate to severe anemia also occurs in infected children that do not show obvious signs of the disease.

anaemia-burkina.jpgEven though the children in this Burkina Faso study were only 6-23 months old, the findings reinforce our recent discussion about malaria in school children, who suffer problems of anemia, lethargy and poor attention in school when infected even if they do not show other signs of malaria.

It was not mentioned whether the children in Burkina Faso had access to ITNs. Burkina Faso itself has received little attention from the international malaria partners. Its 2-year Global Fund grant has finished, although the country was awarded a Round 7 grant. By the end of the first grant only 29% of households had an ITN/LLIN.

Much valuable malaria research has been conducted in Burkina Faso. The present study emphasizes that the international community should not forget the needs of Burkinabe for quality malaria programming.

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