WASHINGTON Programs to fight malaria, such as distribution of bed nets and drugs and spraying insecticides, have saved nearly 750,000 lives over the past 10 years, according to a report released on Tuesday.
An additional 3 million children could be saved by 2015 if the world continues to increase investments against malaria, the report projected.
Researchers including Thomas Eisele at Tulane University in Louisiana and teams at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the World Health Organization and the non-profit PATH initiative used a computer model to calculate the effect of malaria programs in 34 of the worst-affected African countries.
"From 2001-2010, scaling up malaria prevention is estimated to have saved nearly three-quarters of a million (736,700) children's lives across 34 malaria-endemic African countries (representing 98 percent of the at-risk population in Africa)," they wrote.
"In 2010, an estimated 485 children per day were saved from malaria-related death, representing an 18 percent reduction in child malaria mortality compared with 2000."
There is no vaccine against malaria, caused when mosquitoes spread parasites from one person to another. Bug spray, bed nets and drugs that suppress the infection can all help prevent the spread.
But 850,000 people die of malaria in a year, according to WHO, most of them young children.
"Every $1,025 spent on insecticide-treated nets will protect 380 children and save one child's life each year," reads the report, released by the group Roll Back Malaria Partnership.
"If country prevention rates are maintained at this year's levels until 2015, then 906,000 African children's lives can be saved."
"The findings from this report clearly show the efficacy of our efforts to save lives, especially among children in Africa," Awa Coll Seck of Roll Back Malaria said in a statement.
(Editing by Mohammad Zargham)