Save the Children and Judith Neilson Foundation team up to address malaria in Malawi

Ahead of World Malaria Day, Save the Children Australia proudly announces its new partnership with the Judith Neilson Foundation to boost the delivery of lifesaving testing and treatment for malaria for Malawian school children.

Despite progress towards reducing malaria as a global health challenge, the disease still disproportionally affects children in low and middle-income countries such as Malawi. The country has some of the highest malaria mortality and morbidity rates in the world, including among children 5-14 years old.

In 2022, Malawi recorded more than 4.5 million malaria cases. It is estimated that school children experience the equivalent of 2.1 million total attacks per year, risking their health and jeopardising their time in the classroom.

Save the Children’s Learner Treatment Kit (LTK), a basic first aid kit for the testing and treatment of malaria and other minor ailments, addresses the high burden of malaria experienced by children in a school-based health setting. LTK is a social innovation that trains teachers to provide early malaria diagnosis and treatment for non-complicated malaria cases within schools and timely referrals for more complicated cases.

The LTK has been operating successfully in Malawi since 2009, bringing healthcare closer to children, improving school attendance, reducing strain on the healthcare system, relieving a financial burden for families, and supporting the government of Malawi’s Ministry of Health in ensuring universal health coverage for all. Early diagnosis and treatment of malaria reduces disease, prevents deaths, and contributes to reducing transmission.

The Judith Neilson Foundation’s new philanthropic investment in this project will expand the LTK to an additional 150 Malawian schools, train 600 teachers to be dispensers, and ultimately benefit 220,000 school students. The Malawi Government has committed to the replenishment of LTK supplies in participating schools to ensure sustainability, demonstrating their interest to scale up the innovation nationwide.

Save the Children’s Malawi Country Director, Ashebir Debebe, said the Judith Neilson Foundation’s investment in the LTK program will be life-changing for children in Malawi.

“Malaria not only threatens children’s lives in Malawi, but it puts their education at risk too, with children suffering from ill health being less likely to attend and complete school. Travelling long distances to seek medical care also affects attendance and puts undue stress on families.

“Through this funding, we aim to demonstrate the cost effectiveness of this highly scalable model – making it ripe for expansion within Malawi and other countries with a high burden of malaria.

“We thank the Judith Neilson Foundation and the Malawi Government for their investment in children’s futures and look forward to achieving great outcomes together.”

Judith Neilson, founder of the Judith Neilson Foundation, said:

“I’m pleased that the Foundation’s support can make a difference in extending malaria treatment directly to schools in Malawi. Through our partnership, we can help keep children healthy and in school. Practical steps like these can have a big impact, and I’m proud we’re involved in such vital work.”

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