WHO Calls For Increased Political Commitment To End Malaria

25 Августа, 2019, 06:53 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • WHO Calls For Increased Political Commitment To End Malaria

The WHO remains committed to the "disappearance of every single malaria parasite from the face of the planet", as it has been since the United Nations organisation was launched in 1948, said Dr Pedro Alonso, the director of its global malaria programme.

"With the tools that we have today, it is most unlikely that eradication could be achieved", Alonso said.

Global malaria infection and death rates have remained virtually unchanged since 2015.

"To achieve a malaria-free world we must reinvigorate the drive to find the transformative strategies and tools that can be tailored to the local situation".

According to WHO, less than one percent of global funding for investment in health research and development is devoted to the enhancement of means to fight malaria.

Eradicating malaria is biologically feasible and a lofty aim, the World Health Organization said on Friday, but the focus for now should be getting the funds, tools and political will to control it.

A latest report from Strategic Advisory Group on Malaria Eradication (SAGme), which is composed of 13 leaders and scientists representing a range of disciplines and geographies with support from WHO, concludes that eradicating malaria would both save lives and boost economies, such as bringing the greatest health benefits to some of the world's most vulnerable populations.

"Despite huge progress in reducing malaria cases and deaths between 2000 and 2015, the last two years have witnessed the stalling of global progress", the World Health Organization report warned.

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The disease hits children the hardest, with kids under age 5 making up 61% of all malaria deaths.

"Making better use of data and surveillance, and a strong health system, important components of the WHO and RBM Partnership High Burden to High Impact approach".

"Freeing the world of malaria would be one of the greatest achievements in public health", said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The report said, "There must be an increased domestic and external resources, as well as increased political commitment and fast tracking of new tools and innovations".

While a few countries like the Maldives and Sri Lanka have eliminated the disease recently, India and other high burden countries, especially in Africa, are away from this target. Worryingly, in some countries, malaria is on the rise.

There are several medications available to treat and control malaria and effective insecticides to fight mosquitoes, its main transmitter, but in the opinion of experts this is not enough to completely erradicate the disease.

Estimates suggest that within these 29 countries, the cost of scaling up is projected to be $34 billion, but the economic gain is estimated at $283 billion in total GDP during the period of 2016 and 2030.

The world's first malaria vaccine, RTS, S/AS01, has been developed and it is being deployed in Ghana and Malawi, with plans for rollout in Kenya.

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