A study performed by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has found a way to reduce infant deaths from Malaria in Congo. Almost 18,000 mothers were given a bed net treated with insecticide to surround the beds of their infants. The untreated netting is supposed to keep out the mosquitoes that carry malaria, but fail in many cases. The insecticide is responsible for saving more than 400 infant lives.

The cost of the intervention was estimated at just over $400 per life saved. This cost includes the price of the netting and education on the proper use of the mosquito prevention. Researchers believe this cost is relatively low for the long term effect the netting could have on other health care costs.

Mothers who used the netting also benefited with a marked reduction in low birth weight babies. The fewer babies born with low birth weight, the less the cost of long term care for the infants.

The study involved nearly 18,000 women in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The insecticide mosquito netting was being given out as part of an HIV prevention program in Kinshasa, the capital city. Of the 18,000 women, 80% claimed they were sleeping in the netting for at least six months after their infants were born.

Source: American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene - September 2009

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