Malaria fight stalling at 'unacceptably high level' of deaths

Malaria fight stalling at 'unacceptably high level' of deaths

"There were about 155 million malaria cases in the 11 high burden to high impact (HBHI) countries in 2018, compared with 177 million in 2010".

A new report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) says Nigeria accounted for more than half of all malaria cases worldwide with 25 percent, topping the list of 19 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and India which carried nearly 85 percent.

"The incidence rate of malaria declined globally between 2010 and 2018, from 71 to 57 cases per 1,000 population at risk. It is crucial that we act now to hold leaders accountable and work together to achieve vital reduction targets, save millions more lives and end malaria for good".

The report emphasises that the two groups most at risk from malaria are pregnant women and children under five - and that more needs to be done to prioritise support for these groups.

More than a third of young children in sub-Saharan Africa in 2018 also was still not sleeping under a mosquito net, which could protect them from the infection, the report found. However it added, "While the gains to date are impressive, the global malaria challenge remains enormous, and the rate of progress is slowing". Yet, despite the availability of effective life-saving malaria interventions, too many vulnerable pregnant women and children still face the greatest risk of dying from a mosquito bite.

The report said, "On the current trajectory, globally, the 2020 GTS (Global technical strategy for malaria 2016-2030) milestones for morbidity will not be achieved, and unless there is accelerated change, the 2025 and 2030 milestones will not be achieved". "These represent about 29 per cent fewer cases and 60 per cent fewer deaths in 2018 than those in 2000", according to the report. By aligning all the stakeholders - government, private sector and citizens - India has increased awareness and combatted the adverse socio-economic impact of malaria, which disproportionately affects the most vulnerable including pregnant women and children under 5, ' Malaria No More India country director Sanjeev Gaikwad said.

Two countries in the Region - Maldives and Sri Lanka - have been certified malaria free, and two more, Timor-Leste and Bhutan, are close to elimination target.

"There is a strong commitment to eliminate malaria in the Region, reflected in the commendable intense efforts and progress being made by member countries". The Greater Mekong Subregion has recorded a 76% fall in malaria cases between 2010 and 2018, and deaths plummeted by 95%.

The organization called on donor countries and governments in countries affected by the disease to intensify the fight. This year, world leaders increased funding for The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to US$14.2 billion. The Global Fund accounts for 65% of all external funding for malaria programmes over the next three years.

Six African countries; Nigeria (25 per cent), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (12 per cent), Uganda (five per cent), and Côte d'Ivoire, Mozambique, and Niger (four per cent each) accounted for more than half of all malaria cases worldwide. This investment resulted in the rollout of new tools, such as WHO's pilot programme for the world's first malaria vaccine, RTS, S, and next-generation mosquito nets to address the biological threat of insecticide and drug resistance. Originally established as Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership in 1998, it mobilises for action and resources and forges consensus among partners.

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