After years of improvement in malaria reduction around the globe, the 2017 World Malaria Report shows that progress has reached a stand-still. There were 5 million more cases in 2016 than 2015 and deaths stood at 445,000 – around the same number as the previous year.
“Without urgent action, we risk going backwards and missing the global malaria targets for 2020 and beyond” said Dr. Tedros, Director-General of the WHO.
A major reason for the stall is insufficient funding, both domestically and internationally. As a result, there are major gaps in access and usage of insecticide-treated bed nets (ITN) and high-quality treatments.
The report suggests that malaria eradication is a real possibility if funding is increased.
The burden is concentrated in Africa, home to about 90% of all cases worldwide. Dr. Tedros said in order to get malaria response on track, we must pay attention to the heaviest affected areas.
Although the number of at-risk people in Sub-Saharan Africa sleeping under an ITN increased significantly over the past decade, only 54% are currently protected. Today, there are fewer people covered by indoor insecticide spraying than in 2010. African households alone have experienced a drop from 180 million in 2010 to 100 million in 2016.
The report highlights that fighting malaria has been made more difficult due to the vast number of regions experiencing conflict and crises. In order to remain on target for 2020 and 2030 goals, all aspects of malaria prevention and treatment should be considered, particularly increasing dedicated resources and supporting product and service innovation.
To learn more about what companies are doing to combat malaria check out our recent #GBCtalksmalaria interview series.
photo credit: WHO