One hundred years after the discovery that malaria is transmitted by mosquitoes, the indomitable disease remains Africa’s major problem. The World Heath Organisation estimates that malaria affects 300 to 500 million people and kills up to 2.7 million worldwide every year, 90% of them in sub-saharan Africa. Every five seconds an African child dies of the disease.
Malaria adds to the burden of Africa’s weak economy, costing $ 1.8 billion a year to control. Agriculture is hard hit, as families suffering from malaria are able to cultivate only 40% of their land, further threatening Africa’s already precarious food security. Old methods of mosquito vector control and malaria treatment that were effective in the past are now largely ineffective, due to insecticide-resistant mosquitoes and drug-resistant parasites. Climate change is another factor for new outbreaks in highland areas, where malaria is killing thousands of non-immune people.