New malaria control response to put stalled efforts on track
International The News
After several years of global decline, malaria cases are no longer dropping. This state of affairs has led to the initiation of a new country-led response to scale up prevention and treatment, and to increase investment to protect vulnerable people from the deadly disease.
Catalysed by WHO and the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, the ‘High burden to high impact’ response plan will support nations with most malaria cases and deaths. The response builds on the principle that no one should die from a disease that can be easily prevented and diagnosed, and is entirely curable. Targets set by the WHO Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016–2030 to reduce malaria case incidence and death rates by at least 40% by 2020 are not on track to being met.
The response is based on four pillars: galvanising national and global political attention to reduce malaria deaths; driving impact through strategic use of information; establishing best global guidance, policies and strategies suitable for all malaria endemic countries; and implementing a coordinated country response, a WHO press release informs.
For the second consecutive year, the World Malaria Report 2018 produced by the World Health Organisation reveals a plateauing in numbers of people affected by malaria: in 2017, there were an estimated 219 million cases of malaria, compared to 217 million the year before. But in the years prior, the number of people contracting malaria globally had been steadily falling, from 239 million in 2010 to 214 million in 2015.
In 2017, approximately 70% of all malaria cases (151 million) and deaths (274 000) were concentrated in 11 countries: 10 in Africa (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda and United Republic of Tanzania) and India.
There were 3.5 million more malaria cases reported in these 10 African countries in 2017 compared to the previous year.
As reductions in malaria cases and deaths slow, funding for the global response has also shown a levelling off, with US$ 3.1 billion made available for control and elimination programmes in 2017 including $900 million (28%) from governments of malaria endemic countries.