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Malaria success - but millions at risk

Friday September 18th, 2015

The annual toll of deaths from malaria has fallen by 60% this century, according to a major report published yesterday.

This is equivalent to saving more than six million lives in 15 years - most of them young children, according to the joint report from the World Health Organisation and UNICEF.

The researchers say the world has "convincingly" met its millennium target for tackling malaria.

The world now has a new target to cut deaths by 90% by 2030.

During the 15 years, the number of new malaria cases has fallen by 37%, it says.

Last year some 13 previously affected countries reported no cases - and six countries reported fewer than ten, the report says. These were mostly in Asia and the Caucasus region.

The report warns the world is not free of malaria. Some 438,000 people died from it last year and there were 214 million new cases.

Most deaths and most cases were in sub-Saharan Africa.

The report says annual funding for tackling malaria will need to treble by 2030 to achieve the new targets - reaching 8.7 billion US dollars.

UNICEF director Anthony Lake said: “Malaria kills mostly young children, especially those living in the poorest and most remote places. So the best way to celebrate global progress in the fight against it is to recommit ourselves to reaching and treating them.

“We know how to prevent and treat malaria. Since we can do it, we must.”

WHO director-general Dr Margaret Chan said: “Global malaria control is one of the great public health success stories of the past 15 years.

“It’s a sign that our strategies are on target, and that we can beat this ancient killer, which still claims hundreds of thousands of lives, mostly children, each year.”

Tags: Africa | Asia | World Health

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