Progress is made in fighting malaria, says WHO report

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Pierre Holtz/ UNICEF

Huge progress has been made in reducing the number of people dying from malaria in the period between 2000 and 2012 according to the latest report of the World Health Organization (WHO).

The report released on Wednesday says that approximately 3.3 million lives of mostly children under five have been saved during this time.

The report says that globally, malaria mortality rates have been reduced by 45 per cent and by 50 per cent in Africa.

Dr Robert Newman the WHO's Director of the Global Malaria Programme, says this progress has been made possible by a decade of increased funding which allowed diagnostics, testing and treatment.

"And so what's happened, especially in Africa, is really dramatic, from only about 5 per cent of suspected cases in public health facilities receiving a diagnostic test in 2000 that number rose to 61 per cent in 2012. For those of us who have been working in malaria for a long time, that number is astonishing. No one would ever have believed that we could get to a point where more than 60 per cent of suspected cases in public health facilities would actually receive a diagnostic test." (28")

However, Dr. Newman is concerned about a slowdown in expanding interventions to control mosquitoes, in particular by distributing long-lasting insecticide treated nets.

He says after a peak of more than 150 million nets distributed in 2010 the numbers went down in 2011 and 2012 and that intensified efforts are needed to save more lives.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’39″

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