News / Health

WHO Reports Fragile Progress Against Malaria

TEXT SIZE - +
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

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid