'400000 deaths every year': WHO urges investment drive as malaria fight stalls

A young girl with malaria rests in the inpatient ward of the Malualkon Primary Health Care Center in Malualkon in the South Sudanese state of Northern Bahr el Ghazal

A young girl with malaria rests in the inpatient ward of the Malualkon Primary Health Care Center in Malualkon in the South Sudanese state of Northern Bahr el Ghazal

Global malaria infection and death rates have remained virtually unchanged since 2015, WHO said, adding that the world is now off track, as is shown in the WHO World Malaria Report in 2018, to achieve the 2030 goals set out in the WHO Global Technical Strategy for malaria 2016-2030, which aims for a 90-percent reduction in the malaria case incidence and mortality rate.

"With the tools that we have today, it is most unlikely that eradication could be achieved", Alonso told reporters in a telephone briefing. And some of the world's poorest countries are most affected; the WHO said more than 90% of the 400,000 global deaths each year occur in sub-Saharan Africa.

"In some cases we are witnessing a resurgence of malaria".

The global health agency noted that most of the tools being used to tackle malaria now were "developed in the last century or even earlier".

The group has published the executive summary of its report ahead of a WHO-hosted forum on "Rising to the Challenge of Malaria Eradication" to be held in Geneva on 9 September 2019.

After a decade or so of significant declines in malaria case numbers and deaths, latest World Health Organization data show progress is stalling.

World Health Organization hopes to prevent two billion additional malaria cases and four million deaths by 2030 if the current global malaria intervention efforts are scaled up.

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Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, the WHO's director-general, said in the statement that freeing the world of malaria would be one of public health's greatest achievements.

"Falling short of eradication led to a sense of defeat, the neglect of malaria control efforts and abandonment of research into new tools and approaches", the review stated.

The WHO said the group's work dovetails with some recent efforts of it and its partners, including the November 2018 launch of a "high burden to high impact" approach that targets 11 countries-10 African countries and India-that have the highest malaria burden.

The tools included insecticide-treated mosquito nets, indoor residual spraying, rapid diagnostic tests and drugs based on artemisinin.

Craig also raised concerns about whether malaria programs would be able to raise the billions needed given other competing eradication campaigns, like those for polio, guinea worm, and lymphatic filariasis.

"We need to have real political leadership and commitment that translates into the financing that is required to ensure universal health coverage for all the population at risk".

The experts project that the cost of the scale-up would be $34 billion and that the economic gain would be about $283 billion in total gross domestic product-putting the benefit-to-cost ratio above 8:1. A partially effective vaccine - the world's first against malaria - has been developed by the British drugmaker GSK and is being deployed in Ghana and Malawi, with plans for rollout in Kenya.

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