News / Health

WHO: Investing In Malaria Makes Sense

Laborer sleeps on a makeshift bed covered with a mosquito net on a hot summer morning, New Delhi, May 23, 2013.
Laborer sleeps on a makeshift bed covered with a mosquito net on a hot summer morning, New Delhi, May 23, 2013.
Lisa Schlein
In marking World Malaria Day on April 25, the World Health Organization says investing in malaria control is good health policy and makes good economic sense.

Great progress is being made in controlling malarial infection, and WHO officials think now is the time to capitalize on recent successes in the battle against this preventable and treatable disease.

-About 3.3 billion people, half the world's population, are at risk of malaria
-People living in the poorest sub-tropical and tropical countries are the most susceptible
-Caused by mosquito-borne parasite
-Killed 627,000 people in 2012, mostly African children
-Kills by restricting blood flow to vital organs
-Symptoms include fever, headache and vomiting

Source: WHO
Dr. John Reeder, the WHO’s acting director of  Global Malaria Program, says international funding for malaria control has increased from $100 million in 2000 to $1.94 billion in 2012, and that during that time malaria-related death rates have decreased 42 percent globally and 49 percent in Africa.

More than three million children’s lives have been saved, he says.

“So, clearly, ramping up investment in malaria can work and does work," he said. "And we have seen things like the vast expansion of bed net programs. Over the last couple of years, it has gone from 70 million nets that went out in 2012 to 136 million last year. This year there is going to be something in the region of 200 million nets put out there."
Malaria mortality rates, by age groups, 2000-2012Malaria mortality rates, by age groups, 2000-2012
Malaria mortality rates, by age groups, 2000-2012
Malaria mortality rates, by age groups, 2000-2012
Despite this progress, however, malaria remains a worldwide scourge, especially in Africa, where WHO figures show 207 million cases, including 627,000 deaths. The U.N. health agency says 90 percent of these deaths have occurred among children under five in sub-Saharan Africa.

WHO notes 80 percent of malaria cases are found in 18 African countries, with Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo accounting for half of those cases. It says malaria disproportionately affects the poor and thwarts African economies.

It estimates Africa loses $12 billion each year in lost productivity, and says the disease places a heavy burden on national health systems, accounting for as much as 40 percent of public health expenditure in some countries.

Reeder says it is possible to slow the spread of the disease. But, he notes, one of the problems affecting malaria control is the difficulty of delivering effective programs in the context of a weakened health system.

“So, malaria in itself is a disease, which has got particular needs and really needs an investment," he said. "But part of that investment really has got to be in strengthening health systems in a more general way."

Reeder says growing resistance to Artemisnin-based Combination Therapies, the most effective anti-malarials on the market, could unravel the hard-won gains to date.

Efforts to contain resistance and research and development of new tools to control the disease are important, he says, even if it requires lots of money.

The International Roll Back Malaria Program will need $5.1 billion every year through 2020 to provide insecticide-treated nets, indoor spraying, quick diagnostic testing and treatment for all those at risk.

You May Like

Beijing Warns US on S. China Sea Patrols

Warning follows news reports Thursday that US military is planning to sail warships close to artificial islands Beijing has been aggressively building More

Indian PM Calls for Unity Amid Tense Climate Over Beef Attacks

Recent series of beef-related incidents seen as signs of rising intolerance toward Muslims and other religious minorities More

Why These Are New York City's Most Treasured Spaces

Under threat of jail time and fines, some New York property owners are not allowed to renovate their spaces without prior approval More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs