GENEVA (AFP): The UN health agency warned in a report published on Friday that the global battle against malaria has slowed down and requires massive investment as well as political leadership.
Director of the World Health Organization’s malaria programme, Pedro Alonso, told a news conference in Geneva, “The world is at a crossroads. Historical progress that has been achieved over the last decade is clearly slowing down.”
Alonso expressed deep concern as he highlighted that “we still have in excess of 400,000 deaths every year and 200 million cases” due to malaria.
The WHO report warned, “Despite huge progress in reducing malaria cases and deaths between 2000 and 2015, the last two years have witnessed the stalling of global progress.”
The WHO report predicts that given even the most optimistic scenarios and projections, we will still have 11 million malaria cases in Africa by 2050.
It said that a massive concerted and coordinated action was needed to eradicate the disease transmitted to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes.
Sub-Saharan Africa bears by far the greatest malaria burden with WHO data showing that the region accounted for 90 percent of malaria related deaths in 2018.
The UN agency said that the illness hits the most vulnerable individuals in the region i.e. the very young and the poor. According to the WHO, three in five malaria fatalities are children aged under five. The year 2020 target to cut malaria cases and mortality by 90 percent till 2030 is likely be missed.
The report said that $34 billion must be invested between now and 2030 to fight malaria, notably by improving health care provision, vaccination, and surveillance of the threat.
Alonso underlined that the current vaccine is only 40 percent effective.
The WHO stated that global funding for malaria has remained relatively stagnant since 2010.
Download MM News mobile application and keep yourself updated.