We find the under-five childhood deaths particularly instructive. Of the almost four million children between the ages of one and 59 months who tragically died before their time, almost one-half of them died from infectious diseases, led by lower respiratory infections (708,600), malaria (570,000), or diarrheal disease (474,900). More interesting is when the respiratory and diarrheal diseases are broken down by specific infections with known etiological agents.
Today, malaria, most caused by Plasmodium falciparum, is the leading killer of children under the age of five – most of these deaths occurred in sub-Saharan Africa. Although great progress has been made in reducing these deaths through mass interventions such as insecticide-treated bednets and anti-malarial drugs we still urgently need a malaria vaccine, especially as resistance to current interventions increases.