Funding gap leads to slowdown of fight against malaria: WHO
Years 2010-2012 witnessed a slowdown in the global fight against malaria compared with previous years due to funding gap, said a World Health Organization (WHO) report on Monday.
Funding for malaria prevention and control has leveled off, with international disbursements for malaria control estimated at 1.71 billion U.S. dollars in 2010, 1.66 billion in 2011 and 1.84 billion in 2012, according to the World Malaria Report 2012.
"This fell very far short of the 5.1 billion dollars required every year to achieve universal coverage with malaria interventions," said Richard Cibulskis, lead author of the report, at a press conference in Geneva.
Progress in the delivery of some life-saving commodities has slowed too, according to the report. The number of long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) delivered to sub-Saharan Africa dropped from a peak of 145 million in 2010 to 66 million in 2012, the report said.
The report indicated these developments are signs of a slowdown that could threaten to reverse the remarkable recent gains in the fight against one of the world's leading infectious killers.
The report said 50 countries are on track to achieve international targets of reducing malaria case incidence rates by 75 percent by 2015. However, these countries only represent 3 percent of the total estimated malaria cases worldwide.
According to the latest WHO estimates, there were around 219 million cases of malaria and 660,000 deaths in 2010.
Tracking progress is another problem in control of the disease, said the report. At present, malaria surveillance systems detect only 10 percent of the estimated global number of cases.
Malaria is a preventable and treatable mosquito-borne disease, whose main victims are children under five years old in Africa, where about 90 percent of all malaria deaths occur.
The challenge is to make sure that the millions of people who still don't have access to anti-malaria interventions are given their access, said Cibulskis.