WHO / WORLD MALARIA REPORT

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03-Dec-2019 00:04:18
The number of pregnant women and children in sub-Saharan Africa sleeping under insecticide-treated bed nets and benefiting from preventive medicine for malaria has increased significantly in recent years, according to the World Health Organization’s World malaria report 2019. WHO

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STORY: WHO / WORLD MALARIA REPORT
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SOURCE: WHO
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DATELINE: 02 DECEMBER 2019, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND / FILE

SHOTLIST:

FILE – RECENT, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1. Wide shot, exterior World Health Organization

02 DECEMBER 2019, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2. SOUNDBITE (English) Pedro Alonso, Director, Global Malaria Programme, WHO:
“It's a shortcoming that it is the first time that the World Malaria Report focuses on malaria in pregnant women and children because they are the two main, target groups. The two population groups that carry the brunt of disease. By highlighting it in this year's World Malaria Report, we hope it also helps drive the attention of the countries, of the funders, as this must be our number one priority. It is a critical step reducing disease and death in children and pregnant women towards elimination. It's an ethical imperative to ensure that no one dies of this disease that is preventable and entirely curable, and children and pregnant women carry a disproportionate burden of this disease.”
3. Med shot, Alonso and interviewer
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Pedro Alonso, Director, Global Malaria Programme, WHO:
“So, in order to make a progress in our global fight against malaria, we, we do need more resources. We're short of what we estimate would be required to achieve our globally agreed targets, but it's not just about funding. We need, we need political commitment, and political commitment from the endemic countries themselves, that translates into increased domestic funding. We need to improve coordination among the different partners. We need better guidance from WHO, and we need better use of data to drive action.”
5. Close up, Alonso and interviewer
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Pedro Alonso, Director, Global Malaria Programme, WHO:
“This year's world malaria report, as did the reports of previous years, shows that the world is increasingly divided into two large groups. 49 countries out of the 88 endemic countries have less than 10,000 cases and are therefore within reach of entirely interrupting class malaria transmission. And this space is one that keeps on generating very good news. This year, Argentina and Algeria were certified malaria free, and this represents a, a massive public health achievement for these countries. More countries are getting to zero cases this year, the Islamic Republic of Iran reached zero cases, as, as did Malaysia and the other countries continue to be at zero, like El Salvador in central America or a big country like China, hat puts them at the door of potentially being certified malaria free in the year 2020.”
7. Close up, Alonso and interviewer
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Pedro Alonso, Director, Global Malaria Programme, WHO:
“Uganda, this year is a great example. India has been a great example over the last couple of years and we see other countries that owning the problem, leading the response, making better use of the data does allow them to achieve greater impact.”
9. Close up, Alonso and interviewer
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Pedro Alonso, Director, Global Malaria Programme, WHO:
“The world has been looking for a malaria vaccine for nearly a hundred years, and for the first time we have one vaccine that has completed its full development, has been evaluated by stringent regulatory authorities, recommended by the top advisory committees of WHO and over 300,000 children will be immunized with this vaccine every year for the coming five years. So, this vaccine can provide further protection to those children that are already being protected by a bednets or access to case management. An imperfect vaccine, because it only provides about a 40 percent protection. But pretty much there's other controlled tools we have such as insecticide treated bednets, and the addition of imperfect tools often using imperfectly can allow us to achieve great impact. 7 million deaths have been averted over the last 10 years with imperfect tools. A vaccine, which is hopefully not the final vaccine, but a great first step, can actually provide a lot of added protection to the tools we have now.”

FILE – RECENT, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

11. Wide shot, exterior World Health Organization

STORYLINE:

The number of pregnant women and children in sub-Saharan Africa sleeping under insecticide-treated bed nets and benefiting from preventive medicine for malaria has increased significantly in recent years, according to the World Health Organization’s World malaria report 2019.

This year’s report focuses on malaria in pregnant women and children

SOUNDBITE (English) Pedro Alonso, Director, Global Malaria Programme, WHO:
“It's a shortcoming that it is the first time that the World Malaria Report focuses on malaria in pregnant women and children because they are the two main, target groups. The two population groups that carry the brunt of disease. By highlighting it in this year's World Malaria Report, we hope it also helps drive the attention of the countries, of the funders, as this must be our number one priority. It is a critical step reducing disease and death in children and pregnant women towards elimination. It's an ethical imperative to ensure that no one dies of this disease that is preventable and entirely curable, and children and pregnant women carry a disproportionate burden of this disease.”

Pregnancy reduces a woman’s immunity to malaria, making her more susceptible to infection and at greater risk of illness, severe anaemia and death. Maternal malaria also interferes with the growth of the foetus, increasing the risk of premature delivery and low birth weight – a leading cause of child mortality.

In 2018, an estimated 11 million pregnant women were infected with malaria in areas of moderate and high disease transmission in sub-Saharan Africa. As a result, nearly 900 000 children were born with a low birthweight.

Despite the encouraging signs seen in the use of preventive tools in pregnant women and children, there was no improvement in the global rate of malaria infections in the period 2014 to 2018 in the hardest-hit countries.

SOUNDBITE (English) Pedro Alonso, Director, Global Malaria Programme, WHO:
“So, in order to make a progress in our global fight against malaria, we, we do need more resources. We're short of what we estimate would be required to achieve our globally agreed targets, but it's not just about funding. We need, we need political commitment, and political commitment from the endemic countries themselves, that translates into increased domestic funding. We need to improve coordination among the different partners. We need better guidance from WHO, and we need better use of data to drive action.”

Accelerated efforts are needed to reduce infections and deaths in the hardest-hit countries, as progress stalls. Last year, malaria afflicted 228 million people and killed an estimated 405 000, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa.

SOUNDBITE (English) Pedro Alonso, Director, Global Malaria Programme, WHO:
“This year's world malaria report, as did the reports of previous years, shows that the world is increasingly divided into two large groups. 49 countries out of the 88 endemic countries have less than 10,000 cases and are therefore within reach of entirely interrupting class malaria transmission. And this space is one that keeps on generating very good news. This year, Argentina and Algeria were certified malaria free, and this represents a, a massive public health achievement for these countries. More countries are getting to zero cases this year, the Islamic Republic of Iran reached zero cases, as, as did Malaysia and the other countries continue to be at zero, like El Salvador in central America or a big country like China, hat puts them at the door of potentially being certified malaria free in the year 2020.”

Inadequate funding remains a major barrier to future progress. In 2018, total funding for malaria control and elimination reached an estimated US$ 2.7 billion, falling far short of the US$ 5 billion funding target of the global strategy.

Last year, WHO and the RBM Partnership to End Malaria launched “High burden to high impact” (HBHI), a targeted response aimed at reducing cases and deaths in countries hardest hit by malaria. The HBHI response is being led by 11 countries that accounted for about 70 percent of the world’s malaria burden in 2017. By November 2019, the HBHI approach had been initiated in nine of these countries. Two reported substantial reductions in malaria cases in 2018 over the previous year: India (2.6 million fewer cases) and Uganda (1.5 million fewer cases).

SOUNDBITE (English) Pedro Alonso, Director, Global Malaria Programme, WHO:
“Uganda, this year is a great example. India has been a great example over the last couple of years and we see other countries that owning the problem, leading the response, making better use of the data does allow them to achieve greater impact.”

Integrated community case management for malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea can bridge gaps in clinical care in hard-to-reach communities. Although 30 countries now implement the approach, most sub-Saharan African countries struggle to do so, mainly due to bottlenecks in health financing.

SOUNDBITE (English) Pedro Alonso, Director, Global Malaria Programme, WHO:
“The world has been looking for a malaria vaccine for nearly a hundred years, and for the first time we have one vaccine that has completed its full development, has been evaluated by stringent regulatory authorities, recommended by the top advisory committees of WHO and over 300,000 children will be immunized with this vaccine every year for the coming five years. So, this vaccine can provide further protection to those children that are already being protected by a bednets or access to case management. An imperfect vaccine, because it only provides about a 40 percent protection. But pretty much there's other controlled tools we have such as insecticide treated bednets, and the addition of imperfect tools often using imperfectly can allow us to achieve great impact. 7 million deaths have been averted over the last 10 years with imperfect tools. A vaccine, which is hopefully not the final vaccine, but a great first step, can actually provide a lot of added protection to the tools we have now.”

An estimated 61 percent of pregnant women and children in sub-Saharan Africa slept under an insecticide-treated net in 2018 compared to 26 percent in 2010.

Among pregnant women in the region, coverage of the recommended 3 or more doses of intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy (IPTp), delivered at antenatal care facilities (ANC), increased from an estimated 22 percent in 2017 to 31 percent in 2018.

WHO recommends the use of effective vector control (insecticide-treated nets or indoor residual spraying) and preventive antimalarial medicines to protect pregnant women and children from malaria. Robust health services that provide expanded access to these and other proven malaria control tools – including prompt diagnostic testing and treatment – is key to meeting the goals of the Global technical strategy for malaria 2016-2030 (GTS).

Still, too many women do not receive the recommended number of IPTp doses, or none at all. Some women are unable to access antenatal care services. Others who reach an ANC facility do not benefit from IPTp as the drug is either not available or the health worker does not prescribe it.

For children under five living in Africa’s Sahel subregion, WHO recommends seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) during the high-transmission rainy season. In 2018, 72 percent of children who were eligible for the preventive medicine benefited from it.

Another recommended strategy – intermittent preventive treatment in infants (IPTi) – calls for delivering antimalarial medicines to very young children through a country’s immunization platform. The tool is currently being pioneered in Sierra Leone.
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unifeed191203g
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