In Spite of the noticeable decline in funding to combat malaria, global access to key anti-malarial interventions has improved over the last year, says the World Malaria report 2016. But persistent gaps in coverage mean the burden of disease is still massive.
The World Health Organization’s 2016 World Malaria Report released in December, highlights not only the continued progress in the malaria fight, particularly for the most vulnerable; but also the hindrances that stand in the way of realising global eradication targets.
According to the report, since 2000, malaria deaths rates have fallen by more than 62 percent and by 69 percent among children under 5, saving 6.8 million lives. In the same period, 17 countries are noted as having successfully eliminated malaria.
The 2020 target of eliminating malaria in 10 more countries is within reach, according to the report. In 2015, 10 more countries and territories reported fewer than 150 indigenous cases. For example, between 2010 and 2015, the percentage of women receiving the recommended doses of preventive treatment in 20 African countries increased fivefold. The percentage of the population using an insecticide treated mosquito net in sub-Saharan Africa - where 92 percent of malaria deaths occur - also rose to 53 percent, up from 30 percent in 2010.
Nevertheless, the report also highlights that more resources will be needed to put us on track to achieve the overall 2020 mortality and case reduction targets, particularly in countries with heavy malaria burdens.
The report confirms that Malaria remains both a major cause and a consequence of global poverty and inequity: its burden is greatest in the least developed areas and among the poorest members of society. Many of those most vulnerable, especially young children and pregnant women are still not able to access the life-saving prevention, diagnosis and treatment they so urgently need.
Photo Source: Novartis Malaria Initiative/Flickr.com