News / Africa

184 Million Africans at Risk for Malaria

In this Dec. 21, 2005 file photo, a mother gently places her son in a basket as she takes him to a Medecins Sans Frontieres clinic after he contracted malaria, in Lankien, Southern Sudan. (AP Photo/Karel Prinsloo, File)
In this Dec. 21, 2005 file photo, a mother gently places her son in a basket as she takes him to a Medecins Sans Frontieres clinic after he contracted malaria, in Lankien, Southern Sudan. (AP Photo/Karel Prinsloo, File)

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
New research shows that after 10 years of intensified campaigns against malaria 184-million people in Africa still live in moderate to high-risk areas. While the number is high, it’s down from nearly 220-million in 2000 when anti-malaria efforts began to increase.


The findings are based on thousands of community-based surveys in 44 African countries and territories. These are places where malaria has been endemic.

Dr. Abdisalan Noor, co-leader of the team that conducted the research, said, “What we are looking at, first of all, is to try and estimate the level of infection with malaria in African communities. This doesn’t necessarily mean the number of people who die of malaria, but the proportion of people who are likely to carry the most virulent type of the malaria parasite. That’s Plasmodium falciparum.”

Noor and co-leader Professor Robert Snow are with the Kenya Medical Research Institute-Wellcome Trust Research Program. The team also included researchers from Oxford University and the World Health Organization.

The study reflects the effects of the Roll Back Malaria campaign and other programs. The campaign brought together many multi-lateral, private and non-governmental organizations. The goal was to cut in half the number of deaths from malaria by 2010. It had a shaky start and was criticized in its early years for a lack of progress.

Dr. Noor said that the new study finds a mix of good and bad news about efforts to combat malaria.

“The positive news is there has been production in 40 of the 44 African countries for which we were able to estimate change. There has been some reduction in the proportion of people who are likely to be affected with the falciparum parasite. About 218-million people in 2010 lived in areas where transmission – malaria transmission – had dropped by at least one level of endemicity. So that’s good news.”

Endemicity is described as the measure of disease prevalence in a region.

“The other side of it.” said Noor, “is that despite all these gains almost 60 percent of African populations still live in areas where more than 10-percent of the population is likely to carry the malaria parasite. And out of these about 184-million people live in areas where more than 50-percent of the population are likely to carry malaria infections.”

Among the countries where disease transmission remained high or unchanged are DRC, Uganda, Malawi and South Sudan.

Despite the large number of people still likely to be infected, Noor says he does not want to detract from the gains made by the international community – namely, the reduction in risk for 34-million people from 2000 to 2010.

“We haven’t actually looked at the reasons why some places are more resilient to change than others. Epidemiologically, it’s got something to do with the higher the starting transmission, the longer it takes to bring down the disease,” he said.

Another reason, he said, may be weak health care systems in many countries. It can be difficult to get reliable estimates on how many people get sick or die from malaria. Noor says stronger health care systems would play a major role in reducing infection risk.

In the 10-year period studied, funding for malaria programs steadily increased from 100-million-dollars to two-billion dollars a year.

He said, “It’s no news that despite all this investment we need more. I think the estimate for the needs for malaria control in Africa is around five-billion dollars if we look at the last global malaria action plan.”

Noor said that there’s a lot to be proud of in the global community in terms of reducing malaria cases.

He added that despite a recent global recession -- and competing priorities -- resources for malaria campaigns should not only be sustained, but increased. That would help bring malaria to a point where, he said, it would be of “minimal public significance.” 

Right now, though, the Roll Back Malaria campaign estimates a child dies every 60 seconds from the disease.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid