Good News About Malaria

Fighting malaria with bed nets

Image by Gates Foundation via Flickr

A report by the RBM (Roll Back Malaria) agency in Geneva, Switzerland says that globally deaths from malaria have fallen by 20% in the past decade, from 984,000 in the year 2000 to 781,000 in 2009. In addition, three countries have been added to the list of those certified as malaria-free; Morocco, United Arab Emirates and Turkmenistan. The agency credits the steep ride in funding for the fight against malaria, particularly from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Funding to fight malaria has increased by 15 times since 2003 and is credited with the progress that has been made.

The increase in funding has led to a huge increase in the distribution of insecticide treated malaria nets in dub-Saharan Africa where 80% of global malaria cases arise.

In addition the agency predicts that if current trends continue then there could be close to zero deaths from malaria by 2015. That would be in addition to a decrease in malaria cases of over 75% from the 2000 level, or fewer than 250,000 cases per year.

But it isn’t all good news. There is a rise inthe incidence of insecticide-resistant mosquitoes and there still aren’t enough treated nets and medicines for all those who need them.

Despite that, this is great news and a great step forward in getting rid of the disease and mirrors the highly effective approaches that have eradicated or greatly reduced smallpox, guinea worm disease, polio, and hopefully soon malaria.

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