Malaria is a major public health problem and cause of much suffering and premature death in the poorer areas of tropical Africa, Asia and Latin America particularly among young children (Cheesbrough, 2010). Children under five years of age are one of the most vulnerable groups affected by malaria. There was an estimated 438,000 malaria deaths around the world in 2015 of which approximately 69% were in children under five years of age. In high transmission areas, partial immunity to the disease is acquired during childhood. In such settings, the majority of malarial disease and particularly severe disease with rapid progression to death occurs in young children without acquired immunity. Severe anaemia, hypoglycaemia and cerebral malaria are features of malaria more commonly seen in children than in adults (WHO 2016).
Malaria is an infection caused by parasites of the Plasmodium species. There are four major species of the parasite that infect man. These are P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale and P. malariae. P. Knowlesi is rare.