Malaria Consortium welcomes the release of the World Health Organisation’s World Malaria Report 2012. The report provides encouraging updates on progress made in the fight to control malaria, but also raises concerns about the low levels of funding available to fight the disease.
According to the report, half of the affected countries are on track to meet World Health Assembly and Roll Back Malaria targets of a 75 percent reduction in the number of malaria cases by 2015 as compared to 2000 figures. The problem remains that, in the most highly affected areas, reporting remains patchy with around one third of countries contributing insufficient data.
The report also raises serious concerns regarding global funding for the fight against malaria; over the next three years there stands to be a funding gap in excess of US$3.5 billion. Globally we are currently spending less than half what is needed to maintain the progress made against the disease.
The report notes, however, that while support falls short, the only region to reduce international aid for malaria control has been the European region. International distribution of anti-malarial treatments have been centred around the African continent with a particular focus on the countries with the lowest Gross National Income per capita, and highest malaria mortality rates. This trend is important and needs to be maintained as these are the areas where the gains are the hardest to achieve.
“The multi-pronged strategy to fight malaria, outlined in the Global Malaria Action Plan, is working. However, in order to prevent a resurgence of malaria in some countries, we urgently need fresh ideas on new financing mechanisms that will reap greater resources for malaria,” said Dr Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, Executive Director of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership. “We are exploring many options – financial transaction taxes, airline ticket taxes together with UNITAID, and a “malaria bond”, among others.”
Resistance also remains a serious problem in the global fight against malaria. Four countries in Southeast Asia registered developing resistance to artemisinin (the most effective anti-malarial drug). In addition, 64 countries around the world noted increased resistance to insecticides by mosquitoes, making indoor insecticidal spraying, an established practice in much of sub-Saharan Africa, far less effective.
Some key findings - WHO World Malaria Report 2012
- Continued progress in tackling the disease in sub-Saharan Africa, where a dozen countries had seen at least a 50 percent reduction in the incidence of the disease.
- 50 countries are on track to meet their MGD target of a 75 percent reduction in the number of cases of malaria by 2015.
- The percentage of people with access to bed nets who are using them properly has increased to around 90 percent.
- The fall in numbers of nets distributed (145 million in 2010 to 66 million in 2012) is a further cause for concern as if children who have been sleeping under nets, no longer have those nets available they will be in the most high risk category as they will have no resistance to the malaria parasite.
- Analysis indicates that as funding has risen, international disbursements have been increasingly targeted to the African Region, to countries with the lowest gross national income (GNI) per capita, and to countries with the highest malaria mortality rates.
- Domestic government funding for malaria control programmes also increased through 2005–2011 and was estimated at US$ 625 million in 2011.
- To achieve universal coverage for bed nets by 2015, 150 million nets need to be distributed each year.
The full report is can be downloaded here.
The official press release covering the main points of the report is available here.