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

Amnesty: EU Failing Migrants, Refugees

Rights group says migrants, refugees subject to detention, extortion, beatings More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deali
X
July 07, 2015 12:02 PM
If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs