News / Health

WHO Reports Fragile Progress Against Malaria

Lisa Schlein

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that global malaria cases and deaths are down, but progress remains fragile.  This year's World Malaria Report finds global mortality rates have fallen by more than 25 percent since 2000, and by 33 percent in Africa, the region most heavily affected by the disease.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says there were an estimated 216 million cases of malaria in 106 endemic countries and territories in 2010.  Most of the cases and deaths occurred in the African Region.  WHO says globally, 85 percent of the victims were children under age five.

The report finds 655,000 people died of malaria in 2010.  This is 36,000 lower than the year before. While this is good progress, WHO officials say these mortality figures are too high for a disease that is entirely preventable and treatable.  

The director of WHO's Global Malaria Program, Robert Newman, attributes the steady progress being made in the fight against malaria to an increase in funding.  This past year, he says international malaria control programs received $2 billion, up from $1.7 billion in 2010.

He says this money has allowed a major scale-up of malaria control measures, including insecticide-treated mosquito nets, indoor residual spraying, diagnostic testing and effective treatments.

"The number of insecticide-treated bed nets delivered to malaria-endemic countries in Africa increased from 88 million in 2009 to 145 million in 2010," said Newman.  "We can now say that an estimated 50 percent of households in Africa own at least one insecticide-treated bed net, which is up from just 3 percent at the beginning of the decade.  We need to stop sometimes and remember where we were 10 years ago.  It is a phenomenal improvement.  And 96 percent of people who have access to a bad net actually use it.  So these nets when they get into the hands of people, it makes a huge difference to their lives."  

Newman says indoor residual spraying now reaches an estimated 185 million people worldwide, 85 million in the WHO African region.

Newman adds that more than twice as many people in Africa in 2010 received rapid diagnostic tests for malaria than was the case five years earlier.  And many more people than before are receiving drugs to treat the disease.

But Newman warns nations have to be vigilant against emerging threats.  

"Plasmodium falciparum resistance to artemisinins, to which we have spoken to you in the past, continues," Newman noted.  "We do now have additional foci suspected in Vietnam and Myanmar, and those are concerning.  But we do not have rapid spread around the globe.  We have no evidence of artemisinin resistance in Africa at the current time.  The problem of mosquito resistance to insecticides does appear to be growing.  We have 45 countries now identified with resistance to at least one of the four classes of insecticide that we use to fight malaria, and 27 of those sites are in sub-Saharan Africa."  

Newman says malaria control interventions work.  But unless the problem of malaria deaths is fully tackled in the six countries with the greatest burden, then the world will not be able to reach the ambitious goal of achieving near zero malaria deaths by 2015.

He notes the six countries, Nigeria, Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, and Ivory Coast, account for 60 percent of malaria deaths worldwide.

You May Like

US, China Have Dueling Definitions of Cybersecurity

Analysts say attribution or or proving that a particular individual or government is responsible for a hack, is a daunting task More

Snowden: I'd Go to Prison to Return to US

Former NSA contractor says he has not received a formal plea-deal offer from US officials, who consider him to be a traitor More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people 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.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs