November 29, 2017 – Following an unprecedented global success in malaria control, progress has stalled, the United Nations health agency reported Wednesday, citing an estimated five million more cases in 2016 than in 2015, and around 445,000 deaths.
The 2017 World Malaria Report presents an integral state of global progress in the fight against malaria.
"In recent years, we have made great strides in the fight against malaria," said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO).
"We are now at a turning point: without urgent action, we run the risk of going backwards and losing the global objectives of malaria for 2020 and beyond," he added.
The WHO Global Technical Strategy for Malaria requires reductions of at least 40% in the incidence of malaria cases and mortality rates by 2020. However, according to the new report, the world is not on its way to achieve these fundamental milestones.
A major problem is the lack of funds, which generates significant gaps in the coverage of networks treated with insecticides, medicines and other tools to save lives.
In 2016, an investment of $ 2.7 billion in malaria control efforts was well below the $ 6.5 billion per year needed by 2020 to meet the 2030 targets of the WHO global strategy against malaria . With a contribution of $ 800 million, the governments of endemic countries represented 31% of the total funding.
The report shows that, in 2016, there were an estimated 216 million cases of malaria in 91 countries, compared with 211 million cases in 2015, with a global death count estimated by malaria at 445,000 compared to 446,000 the previous year.
While the rate of new malaria cases has generally decreased, since 2014 the trend has stabilized and even reversed in some regions. Malaria mortality rates followed a similar pattern.
The African region still has an estimated 90 percent of all malaria cases and deaths worldwide, with 15 countries – all but one in sub-Saharan Africa – with 80 percent of the global burden of malaria. malaria.
"Clearly, if we want to put the global response to malaria back on track, supporting the most affected countries in the African region should be the main focus," said Mr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
In most countries affected by malaria, sleeping under an insecticide-treated net (ITN) is the most common and effective method of infection prevention. Spraying insecticide inside houses is also effective.
While the African region has experienced a significant increase in diagnostic tests in the public health sector: 70 per cent of the treaties have received combination therapies based on artemisinin, the most effective antimalarial drugs: access The public health system in many areas remains low. National surveys show that only about 34% of children with fever go to a public health service provider.
The report also describes additional challenges in the global response to malaria, including the risks posed by conflicts and crises in endemic areas of malaria. Currently, WHO is supporting malaria responses in Nigeria, South Sudan, Venezuela and Yemen, where ongoing humanitarian crises pose serious health risks.
"We are at a crossroads in the response to malaria," said Dr. Pedro Alonso, Director of the WHO Global Malaria Program.
"We hope that this report will serve as a wake-up call for the global health community." Achieving global goals against malaria will only be possible through greater investment and greater coverage of the basic tools that prevent, diagnose and They treat malaria, and solid funding for research and development of new tools is equally critical, "he said.