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WHO pledge to step up malaria action as cases rise

Tuesday November 20th, 2018

Cases of malaria increased last year for the second time this decade, the World Health Organisation has revealed.

WHO promised that efforts to prevent and treat malaria would be increased as it warned of a “plateau” in the numbers affected by the disease.

According to the latest figures, 219 million people were affected last year, two million more than in 2016.

This compared with 239 million in 2010 and 214 million in 2015.

New projects will be aimed at countries with the most malaria cases and deaths. About half of those at risk in Africa did not sleep under treated nets last year.

The annual report shows continued progress against the disease in many parts of the world, including a 24% reduction in cases in India and big falls in Ethiopia and Pakistan.

Algeria, Argentina and Uzbekistan have reported being malaria free while Paraguay has gained confirmation of this status. In China and El Salvador no local transmission was reported.

WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “Nobody should die from malaria. But the world faces a new reality: as progress stagnates, we are at risk of squandering years of toil, investment and success in reducing the number of people suffering from the disease.

“We recognise we have to do something different – now. So today we are launching a country-focused and -led plan to take comprehensive action against malaria by making our work more effective where it counts most – at local level.”

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said: “When countries prioritise action on malaria, we see the results in lives saved and cases reduced.

“WHO and global malaria control partners will continue striving to help governments, especially those with the highest burden, scale up the response to malaria.”

Tags: Africa | Asia | South America | World Health

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