Most vulnerable populations remain the hardest hit
MMV welcomes WHO’s World Malaria Report 2014, the product of a year-long effort of data collection and analysis on the state of malaria worldwide. The Report is a phenomenal resource for organizations like MMV, working collaboratively to find new medicines and interventions to control and ultimately eradicate malaria.
The Report this year reveals that global malaria control strategies are having a significant positive impact. Since 2012, malaria burden and deaths from this disease are on a downward trend. Compared to figures reported in the World Malaria Report 2013, 30,000 fewer children died last year as under-five mortality rates declined. Estimated total deaths fell to 584,000 in 2013 from 627,000 in 2012 and estimated malaria cases to 128 million – a reduction of 26% from 2000. During the same 13-year period, malaria control efforts and expansion of malaria interventions helped to reduce malaria incidence by 30% globally.
On a more sombre note, the Report states that access to preventive therapies for the most vulnerable populations – children and pregnant women – falls short of national targets. It also mentions the inadequate international and domestic funding aimed atmalaria control and elimination. Although this funding rose to US$ 2.7 billion in 2013, it remains significantly below the US$ 5.1 billion required to achieve global targets.
“The World Malaria Report speaks of the achievements of successful partnerships and diligent global efforts to control this terrible disease,” said Dr David Reddy, CEO of MMV. “It is heartening to hear that the global fight against malaria is making progress. But in absolute terms, more than half a million people continue to die each year from malaria—a preventable and curable disease. The world must continue to reduce the global burden of malaria by increasing the use of prevention measures such as insecticide-treated nets, indoor residual spraying and chemo-prevention for vulnerable populations, alongside increased access to diagnostics tests and treatments. With growing parasite resistance to antimalarial medicines becoming a reality, there is also a chance that our current antimalarial drugs will eventually fail. We must therefore continue to develop new medicines to treat those who fall ill. Much more remains to be done if we are to eliminate this disease and MMV is committed to playing its part by discovering, developing and delivering new antimalarials that will keep us a step ahead of the parasite and pave the way for its eventual eradication.”