MMV is delighted with the news that deaths from malaria have fallen by more than 200,000 over the last decade.
The report this year indicates that 11 African countries have shown a greater than 50% reduction in confirmed malaria cases or malaria admissions and deaths over the last decade. Additionally, 32 of 56 malaria-endemic countries outside Africa have shown a decrease of more than 50% of confirmed malaria cases. Two countries, Morocco and Turkmenistan, have even gone a step further and eliminated malaria altogether from their borders.
These encouraging reports are the result of a massive scale-up in malaria control activities. Insecticide-treated bed nets now protect more than 578 million people, while indoor-residual spraying protects 75 million people. Artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs) are also becoming more accessible: by the end of 2009, 11 African countries were able to treat 100% of malaria cases seen in the public sector; a further eight African countries delivered sufficient courses to treat 50–100% of cases. These figures represent a substantial increase since 2005.
While clear wins are being made, a number of obstacles lie ahead. For example, resurgences in malaria cases have been reported in three African countries: Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, and Zambia. The reasons are unfortunately unclear. Additionally, parasite drug resistance has rendered previous antimalarial medicines ineffective in most parts of the world, jeopardizing malaria control. While ACTs remain effective, the reports of prolongation of parasite clearance time are a cause for concern and a reminder of the fragility of the progress made to date. Although financial commitments reached their highest levels in 2009 new commitments have leveled off and the amounts committed to date still fall short.
“This year, WHO’s World Malaria Report clearly shows that concerted global control efforts have resulted in a significant fall in loss of lives due to malaria. Yes, challenges remain, but we must not lose the momentum now. This disease can be defeated and MMV will continue to develop and deliver new medicines that will contribute to the reduction of the global health burden posed by malaria,” said Dr Dennis Schmatz, CEO of Medicines for Malaria Venture.
See the full World Malaria Report.
Read the more information on the WHO website.