London, 13 December 2011: The new 2011 WHO World Malaria Report shows that there has been encouraging progress in the fight against malaria.
Sunil Mehra, Executive Director of Malaria Consortium, commented: “Great strides have been made in the fight against malaria through numerous malaria control and elimination efforts that have saved the lives of thousands of the world’s poorest people. The Report bears this out, estimating that deaths from malaria in 2010 have fallen to 655,000 - an actual decrease of 36 000.
“However, we must work together to prevent increasing pressures on the financial sponsors of the fight against malaria from impeding the pace of progress.”
The World Malaria Report 2011 comes fast on the heels of the decision of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to abandon its next funding round. Given the Fund’s central role in mobilizing resources for the treatment and prevention of malaria, there are fears that the disease could return rapidly in some areas should control efforts be rolled back or slowed down.
A key area of concern remains emergent drug resistance in Southeast Asia. Mr Mehra explained, “The report highlights growing resistance to artemisinin in Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, something that Malaria Consortium is already engaged in helping to contain. If resistance is allowed to spread, this has the potential to reverse many of the recent advances.”
Laos, Viet Nam, Cambodia and Myanmar were all intending to apply for the Global Fund’s Round 11 to finance crucial projects on the surveillance and containment of emerging drug resistance. Such forthcoming support must now be in doubt.
The fight against malaria must maintain momentum in order to consolidate the ‘durable progress’ the report outlines.
The full report is available on the WHO website.
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