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Updated On: Tuesday, December 12 2017

World Malaria Report 2017

Content by: South-South News

1 December 2017, New York, USA | South-South News — After an unprecedented period of success in malaria control, progress has stalled, according to the 2017 World Malaria Report from the World Health Organization (WHO).

This is a trend dating back at least three years. Many countries have reported significant increases in malaria cases, particularly those with a high burden of malaria.

Pedro Alonso, the Director of WHO’s Global Malaria Program, said, “This year, and following unprecedented progress since the year 2000, what we are reporting is lack of progress. The last three or four years have seen stalling in the progress in the fight against malaria and this means the public health community, the malaria community, finds itself at a crossroads.”

According to the report, the world is not on track to achieve the 2020 targets of the WHO Global Technical Strategy for Malaria – specifically targets calling for a 40 percent reduction in case incidence and mortality.

Countries with ongoing malaria transmission are increasingly falling into one of 2 categories: those progressing towards elimination and those with a high burden of malaria that are experiencing setbacks in their responses.

Funding for the global malaria response has plateaued since 2010, reaching $ 2.7 billion in 2016 (less than half of the 2020 funding target). With current levels of funding, and current tools, we are seeing the limits of what can be achieved.

Alonso added, “The report doesn’t go into a very detailed analysis of the cost of this slowdown, of this changing trend, and in different parts of the world there will be sets of different reasons, but globally what we can say is that funding has plateaued, and it has done so for the last four or five years. In the face of population growth, that means that the per-capita investment in the fight against malaria has actually reduced over the last few years, and therefore it should come as no surprise that with the same or even decreasing funding and the same tools, we are achieving no further progress.”

The global trends highlighted in this report do not appear to be the result of drug or insecticide resistance. Overall, the immediate threat of antimalarial drug resistance is low. While insecticide resistance is more widespread, the data show that nets and indoor spraying remain efficacious tools for malaria prevention.

Only through urgent and concerted action by all stakeholders – with countries in the driver’s seat – the world can get back on track to reach the targets of our global malaria strategy. “We believe that our number one task is stopping deaths, deaths that are due to a parasite that is entirely diagnosable and treatable,” Alonso said.

The 2017 World Malaria Report presents a comprehensive state of play in global progress in the fight against malaria up to the end of 2016. It tracks progress in investments in malaria programs and research, malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment, surveillance, trends in malaria disease burden, malaria elimination, and threats in tackling malaria and safeguarding the investments made.

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