Malaria kills a child somewhere in the world every minute.
It infects 350-500 million people each year, killing 1 million, mostly children. Ninety per cent of malaria deaths occur in Africa, where malaria accounts for about one in five of all childhood deaths. The disease also contributes greatly to anaemia among children — a major cause of poor growth and development. Malaria infection during pregnancy is associated with severe anaemia and other illness in the mother and contributes to low birth weight among newborn infants — one of the leading risk factors for infant mortality and sub-optimal growth and development.
“Reversing the spread of malaria is crucial for the survival, health and development of children, especially in Africa. Reducing the incidence of malaria will help achieve the Millennium Development Goals.” - Unicef Report to The White House, 2006
Malaria is caused by a parasite called Plasmodium falciparum spread exclusively by the anopheles mosquito. Some 20 species of anopheles are known to carry the parasite, the most common of which is anopheles gambiae.
Today’s most common preventions
...for malaria include the spraying of chemicals such as DDT on mosquito habitats and sleeping under insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs). Few natural remedies have gained wide acceptance. When people contract malaria, they are treated with pharmaceuticals or, as in the vast majority of cases, are untreated.
Yet, there is a tree called Neem (azadiracta indica), a member of the mahogany family, known for more than a thousand years in India as “The Medicine Tree.”
Recent research on Neem has shown that:
- When planted in places prone to malaria-bearing mosquitoes, Neem trees can reduce the incidence of malaria by 90 percent.
- When spread on mosquito habitat, Neem leaves kill mosquito larvae.
- When spread on the skin, Neem oil is a mosquito repellant
- For adults and children who contract malaria, taking a decoction of Neem-leaf tea virtually eradicates symptoms in a matter of days. ,
- Anecdotal and empirical research in Uganda East Africa claims that simply by having a neem tree planted near a dwelling that anopheles mosquitos are repelled 100 meters in every direction. Uganda is one of the highest-incidence areas of malaria in Africa. See APPENDIX A for complete list of references and resources.
In a world without bed nets or pharmaceuticals...
At a time when chemical treatment such as DDT is rare and treated mosquito nets are generally unavailable to the vast third world population, Neem appears to be a natural, inexpensive and perpetual solution to helping eradicate and treat malaria in the third world. See Research on Bed Nets for a complete discussion on the most highly recommended public health solution to malaria: insecticide-treated nets.