Pulse

Getting malaria reduction programmes back on track

From the WHO | Updated on November 23, 2018

Reductions in malaria cases have stalled after several years of decline globally, says the latest World malaria report 2018. To get the reduction in malaria deaths and disease back on track, WHO and partners are joining a new country-led response to scale up prevention and treatment, and increased investment, to protect vulnerable people from the deadly disease.

For the second consecutive year, the annual report produced by WHO reveals a plateauing in numbers of people affected by malaria: in 2017, there were an estimated 219 million cases of malaria, compared to 217 million the year before. But in the years prior, the number of people contracting malaria globally had been steadily falling, from 239 million in 2010 to 214 million in 2015.

“Nobody should die from malaria. But the world faces a new reality: as progress stagnates, we are at risk of squandering years of toil, investment and success in reducing the number of people suffering from the disease,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, adding “We recognise we have to do something different – now.”

In 2017, approximately 70 per cent of all malaria cases (151 million) and deaths (2,74,000) were concentrated in 11 countries: 10 in Africa (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda and United Republic of Tanzania) and India. There were 3.5 million more malaria cases reported in these 10 African countries in 2017 compared to the previous year, while India, however, showed progress in reducing its disease burden.

Despite marginal increases in recent years in the distribution and use of insecticide-treated bed nets in sub-Saharan Africa – the primary tool for preventing malaria – the report highlights major coverage gaps. In 2017, an estimated half of at-risk people in Africa did not sleep under a treated net. Also, fewer homes are being protected by indoor residual spraying than before.

Source: World Health Organisation

Published on November 23, 2018

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