WHO signals slowdown in the fight against malariaListen /
Global efforts to prevent and control malaria are slowing down, threatening to reverse gains made during the past decade to contain one of the worlds leading infectious disease.
This is according to the World Health Organization(WHO) in its annual World Malaria Report.
WHO says delivery of bed-nets in sub Saharan Africa has dropped from a peak of 145 million in 2010 to an estimated 66 million this year, while indoor spraying programmes reached only about 7 million people in Africa out of an estimated 77 million people at risk.
To ensure universal access to malaria treatment, US$ 5 billion will be needed each year over the next decade, but according to WHO only half of the funding is available.
Dr Richard Cibulskis from WHO says global targets for reducing malaria burden will not be reached unless progress is accelerated in the highest burden countries.
"50 countries are on track to achieve international targets of reducing Malaria case incidence by 75 per cent by 2015. That is 50 of the 99 countries with on going malaria transmission. Another positive achievement has been large increases in the number of rapid diagnostic tests delivered to countries and the number of artemisin combination therapy delivered. That means more people are getting a diagnostic test more people are getting treated with the most effective malaria medicines. Essentially with the tools that we've got we need to make sure that we continue the investments in the control measures that we have if we don’t do that malaria will bounce back. As soon as you take bed nets away malaria will come back if you stop residual indoor spraying it will come back and with a vengeance."
The malaria burden is concentrated in 14 endemic countries, which account for an estimated 80 per cent of malaria deaths.
Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are the most affected countries in sub-Saharan Africa, while India is the most affected country in South East Asia.
Patrick Maigua United Nations radio Geneva.