(London) Malaria Consortium welcomes the release of the World Health Organization’s 2014 World Malaria Report today and the encouraging news it delivers on the progress made toward reaching global targets to control and eliminate the disease.
Malaria Consortium is working in partnership to help achieve these targets in Asia and Africa through our project activities and technical support. An excellent example of this is our Pioneer project in Uganda, funded by Comic Relief, where we fight malaria on different fronts: increasing access to nets, accurate diagnostic tools, health system strengthening and behaviour change communication. We increased the percentage of households that own a mosquito net in four of the country’s districts from 37 percent in 2009 to 92 percent and introduced malaria rapid diagnostic tests across all health centres in the area.
“Progress is real and positive,” said Charles Nelson, Malaria Consortium’s Chief Executive. “More people are being reached through prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Yet globally 584,000 people still die every year of this preventable disease. Around 278 million people in Africa are still living in households without a single insecticide-treated mosquito net, and about 15 million pregnant women lack access to preventive treatment for malaria. Health systems need to be strengthened. Continued investment is crucial in order to rid the world of malaria for good.”
The 2014 World Malaria Report highlights a number of key areas of progress, including a significant decline in malaria incidence and mortality rates. Between 2000 and 2013 estimated mortality rates decreased by 47 percent worldwide and 54 percent in Sub-Saharan Africa. Worldwide, 64 countries are on course to meet the Millennium Development Goal target of reversing the incidence of malaria by the end of 2015. A new analysis this year reveals that since 2000 the prevalence of malaria parasite infection has decreased significantly across sub-Saharan Africa. Average infection prevalence in children in the same region has seen relative decline of an impressive 48 percent.
The availability of diagnostics and artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACT) treatments has also improved and this year’s report notes that for the first time the number of diagnostic tests provided to the African public health sector exceeded the number of ACTs distributed, showing that presumptive treatment of malaria is beginning to give way to testing before treating. Access to insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs) has increased dramatically, from 3 percent of households in 2004 to 49 percent in 2013.
The London launch was co-hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases (APPMG) and Malaria No More UK and attended by HRH The Duke of York. Keynote speakers included Pedro L. Alonso, WHO Global Malaria Programme Director and Joy Phumaphi, Executive Secretary of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance.
The full report can be downloaded here.
Keywords: Maternal, neonatal and child health | Diagnosis | Vector control | Health system strengthening | Public health communications | Advocacy and policy | Elimination