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World Health Organization Reports Malaria Mortality Rate is Decreasing

It could be the most welcome news of late as the World Health Organization reports malaria mortality rate is decreasing worldwide.  The incredible global effort has seen the number of people dying from this mosquito-borne illness has halved since 2000.

Malaria is a disease, which according to the WHO affects an estimate of 3.4 billion people in 97 countries.  This entirely preventable and treatable disease has caused such devastation and has had the world coming together to continue the fight to achieve global eradication.

Beating Malaria

In 2000, 227 million malaria infections were reported worldwide which has fallen to 198 million infections in 2013.  The mortality rate has, according to the WHO, decreased by 47% within that period.

Incredibly for the first time, Azerbaijan and Sri Lanka reported zero indigenous malaria cases.  11 other countries (Argentina, Armenia, Egypt, Georgia, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Oman, Paraguay, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) were also successful in maintaining zero cases says the WHO.

In Africa, where most of the malaria deaths occur, the World Health Organization report malaria mortality rate is decreasing significantly with the number of people infected decreasing from 173 million in 2000 to 128 million in 2013.

A key factor in the decrease of malaria cases has been the scaling up and availability of rapid diagnostic testing in malaria infected areas, the availability of medicines to treat the infection and the increase in insecticide-treated bed nets provided to people in at-risk areas.  In 2004, 3% of people at risk of contracting the mosquito-borne illness had access to mosquito nets.  This has now increased to 50%.

There has also been an increase in international and domestic financing, although in a recent report the WHO stresses an estimated US$5.1 billion is needed every year for resources to reach global coverage.  In 2012 total funding for malaria was US$2.5 billion – less than half of what is needed. 

Malaria is Still a Global Issue

Although the WHO announces the number of malaria deaths is falling, they stress this is not a time to get complacent. This is still a global issue that needs to remain high on the agenda.

There is emerging drug and insecticide-resistance posing a major threat and could trigger an upsurge in deaths if this is not addressed, warns WHO.  Four countries in South-East Asia have been detected for parasite resistance to artemisinin, the core compound to artemisinin-based combination therapy, and mosquito resistance to a least one insecticide has been identified in 64 countries around the world.

There are also growing fears that the Ebola epidemic in West Africa may hinder the malaria fight particularly in areas such as Sierra Leone and Libera as the virus has had a severe impact on the public health system.

Globally, the WHO estimates 3.2 billion people are still at risk of being infected with malaria and developing the disease. So what can you do to help join the fight against this devastating disease?  You can donate to the D.C. Mosquito Squad Malaria No More campaign! For every $1 you donate, we will match it.