Strategy launched to reduce malaria deaths by 40%

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Ninety per cent of all malaria deaths occur in Africa, WHO says. Photo: UNEP

A new global strategy against malaria is vital if progress is to be made against the killer disease, UN health experts said Thursday.

World Health Organization (WHO) said despite advances in recent years, "significant gaps" remain in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the mosquito-borne disease, which kills more than half a million lives every year.

At least three-quarters of the victims are children under five, WHO said, ahead of World Malaria Day on April 25.

Daniel Johnson has more.

Announcing the new strategy to eliminate malaria, UN health experts said they want to reduce deaths from malaria by 40 per cent by 2020, and by at least 90 per cent by 2030.

The World Health Organization plan has yet to be approved by the General Assembly which meets next month.

The aim is to work harder with countries where the disease is endemic and where WHO is worried about growing resistance to anti-malarial drugs and insecticides used in mosquito nets.

WHO's Peter Olumese said that "fake" anti-malarial medicines remained a big problem, and that 60 million people do not receive the recommended drugs every year.

He called on governments to use new WHO anti-malaria guidelines and to work more closely with private sector manufacturers, since they handle most treatment.

"In terms of quality drugs, the question of fake and sub-standard medicines remains a major problem, and the guidelines … ensure that the drugs are of the right quality and of the right standard…"

Meanwhile, WHO partner Roll Back Malaria said that "three to four times" the $2.7 billion currently spent on malaria every year is needed in future.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations

Duration: 1'05"


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