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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid