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Happy(?) World Malaria Day!

An estimated 219 million cases and 660,000 deaths due to malaria occur worldwide each year, mostly in children under the age of 5. Malaria is included under Target 6C of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which aims to have halted and begun to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases by 2015.

So, with only two years left before the MDGs expire…

How is the world doing?

According to the 2012 UN MDG Report:

  • Since 2000, the global incidence (or rate of new infections) of malaria has decreased by 17%. Malaria-specific mortality rates have declined by 25% globally and 33% in the WHO Africa Region alone.
  • There has been a 20% reduction in child mortality rates in countries with improved access to malaria control interventions.
  • 155 million rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) were delivered to endemic countries in 2011, up from 88 million in 2010.
  • 153 million people (5% of the global population at risk) were protected by indoor residual spraying (IRS) in 2011, 77 million people in the WHO Africa Region alone.
  • 278 million courses of artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) were procured by the public and private sectors in endemic countries in 2011, up from 182 million in 2010, and just 11 million in 2005.

How is Malawi doing?

  • Approximately 6 million cases of malaria are treated annually in Malawi.
  • There has been an overall decline in malaria prevalence in children under 5 from 43% in 2010 to 28% in 2012.
  • 40% of all hospitalizations of children under 5 and 34% of all outpatient visits annually due to malaria
  • 55% of Malawian households report having access to at least one insecticide treated bed net (ITN). 56% of children under 5 and 51% of pregnant women were reported to have slept under an ITN the night before. (http://www.measuredhs.com/pubs/pdf/MIS13/MIS13.pdf)

What still needs to be done?

  • Increased funding for malaria programs: An estimated US$1.84 billion was spent on malaria interventions in 2012. However, current funding for malaria prevention and control is far below the estimated US$5.1 billion needed annually to achieve universal access to malaria interventions by 2020. 
  • Increased access to long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) in sub-Saharan Africa: The number of long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) delivered to endemic countries in sub-Saharan Africa dropped from 145 million in 2010 to an estimated 66 million in 2012. This far below the estimated 150 million nets that would need to be delivered each year in order to achieve universal access. Such a sharp decrease in LLIN coverage is likely to lead to major resurgences in malaria.

 

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