WHO / WORLD MALARIA REPORT

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06-Dec-2021 00:05:17
New data from the World Health Organization (WHO) reveal that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted malaria services, leading to a marked increase in cases and deaths. WHO

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STORY: WHO / WORLD MALARIA REPORT
TRT: 05:05
SOURCE: WHO
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 06 DECEMBER 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND12

SHOTLIST:

1. Wide shot, WHO’s Global Malaria Programme Director, Dr Pedro Alonso, walking with interviewer
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Pedro Alonso, Director, Global Malaria Programme, World Health Organization (WHO):
"In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions associated and disruptions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the countries, the malaria endemic countries, have managed to avert the worst-case scenarios that many, including WHO, predicted could happen. So that is a first and very important positive message. Nonetheless, there has been an extra 47,000 extra deaths due to those associated disruptions."
3. Tracking shot, WHO’s Global Malaria Programme Director, Dr Pedro Alonso, walking with interviewer
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Pedro Alonso, Director, Global Malaria Programme, World Health Organization (WHO):
"We are globally off track in terms of reaching our 2030 targets. And that divergence from the trajectory we should be following from the one we are actually following continues to increase. So, this is a big wake-up call that unless we do something decisive and urgently, key targets will not be achieved."
5. Wide shot, WHO’s Global Malaria Programme Director, Dr Pedro Alonso, walking with interviewer
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Pedro Alonso, Director, Global Malaria Programme, World Health Organization (WHO):
"In this year's World Malaria Report, we recognize that neither in terms of reduction of deaths or reduction of cases are we making any further progress. We have stalled. And that picture also hides if one looked with greater granularity that a good number of countries are actually making no further progress or actually having a worsening malaria situation, and many of them are in sub-Saharan Africa. I think we are on the verge of a potential malaria crisis. Not only are we getting closer to elimination or eradication globally, but the problem becoming worse in a substantial number of parts of Africa. This calls for a renewed sense of purpose of action, of addressing what is far from being an unfinished agenda. It is still a massive global health problem that needs to be tackled with decisiveness and having countries, the endemic countries themselves leading the charge."
7. Med shot, WHO’s Global Malaria Programme Director, Dr Pedro Alonso, walking with interviewer
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Pedro Alonso, Director, Global Malaria Programme, World Health Organization (WHO):
"On the one hand, more countries than ever, more than half of all malaria endemic countries, are actually close to eliminating completely the disease within their national boundaries. And indeed, this year we've witnessed the success of having the largest malaria endemic country in the world, China, being certified malaria free and also one of the smallest countries in the world, El Salvador, being certified malaria free and a whole set of other countries are lined up to be certified malaria free. On the other side of the equation, some of the high burdened countries, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, continue to bear a disproportionate brunt of the disease, and the substantial number of them are actually worsening their malaria situation with respect to what they had in 2015. So, a mixed picture, but globally we're off track."
9. Wide shot, WHO’s Global Malaria Programme Director, Dr Pedro Alonso, walking with interviewer
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Pedro Alonso, Director, Global Malaria Programme, World Health Organization (WHO):
"This year has been an extraordinary year on October 6th, the Director-General of WHO, following the advice of external advisory bodies and the results of the Malaria Vaccine Implementation Program, announced for the first time in history that WHO recommended the malaria vaccine, a first-generation malaria vaccine, to be deployed broadly to children living in areas of moderate to high transmission. This announcement is now being followed by the decision by the Gavi board to open up a window of funding for a malaria vaccine to reach those that need it. The significance of these two announcements, first, the WHO recommendation, secondly, the Gavi endorsement is, I believe, truly historical. We need new tools. With the tools we have right now we can save lives and we have saved lives, but we cannot imagine that we will go on making the type of progress that is needed. We need also technological tools. We need new vaccines. We need new medicines. And the fact that for the first time, a malaria vaccine can join the other tools that we have to more effectively fight malaria to reduce what we estimate, an extra 40 to 8,0000 deaths of African children every year is a scientific and public health breakthrough."
11. Tracking shot, WHO’s Global Malaria Programme Director, Dr Pedro Alonso, walking with interviewer

STORYLINE:

New data from the World Health Organization (WHO) reveal that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted malaria services, leading to a marked increase in cases and deaths.

According to WHO’s latest World malaria report, there were an estimated 241 million malaria cases and 627,000 malaria deaths worldwide in 2020. This represents about 14 million more cases in 2020 compared to 2019, and 69,000 more deaths. Approximately two-thirds of these additional deaths.

(47,000) were linked to disruptions in the provision of malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment during the pandemic.

SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Pedro Alonso, Director, Global Malaria Programme, World Health Organization (WHO):
"In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions associated and disruptions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the countries, the malaria endemic countries, have managed to avert the worst-case scenarios that many, including WHO, predicted could happen. So that is a first and very important positive message. Nonetheless, there has been an extra 47,000 extra deaths due to those associated disruptions."

However, the situation could have been far worse. In the early days of pandemic, WHO had projected that – with severe service disruptions – malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa could potentially double in 2020. But many countries took urgent action to shore up their malaria programmes, averting this worst-case scenario.

SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Pedro Alonso, Director, Global Malaria Programme, World Health Organization (WHO):
"We are globally off track in terms of reaching our 2030 targets. And that divergence from the trajectory we should be following from the one we are actually following continues to increase. So, this is a big wake-up call that unless we do something decisive and urgently, key targets will not be achieved."

Sub-Saharan Africa continues to carry the heaviest malaria burden, accounting for about 95% of all malaria cases and 96 percent of all deaths in 2020. About 80 percent of deaths in the region are among children under 5 years of age.

SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Pedro Alonso, Director, Global Malaria Programme, World Health Organization (WHO):
"In this year's World Malaria Report, we recognize that neither in terms of reduction of deaths or reduction of cases are we making any further progress. We have stalled. And that picture also hides if one looked with greater granularity that a good number of countries are actually making no further progress or actually having a worsening malaria situation, and many of them are in sub-Saharan Africa. I think we are on the verge of a potential malaria crisis. Not only are we getting closer to elimination or eradication globally, but the problem becoming worse in a substantial number of parts of Africa. This calls for a renewed sense of purpose of action, of addressing what is far from being an unfinished agenda. It is still a massive global health problem that needs to be tackled with decisiveness and having countries, the endemic countries themselves leading the charge."

The pandemic struck at a point when global progress against malaria had already plateaued. By around 2017, there were signs that the phenomenal gains made since 2000—including a 27 percent reduction in global malaria case incidence and a nearly 51 percent reduction in the malaria mortality rate—were stalling.



Since 2015, the baseline date for WHO’s global malaria strategy, 24 countries have registered increases in malaria deaths. In the 11 countries that carry the highest burden of malaria worldwide, cases increased from 150 million in 2015 to 163 million cases in 2020, and malaria deaths increased from 390,000 to 444,600 over that same period.

SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Pedro Alonso, Director, Global Malaria Programme, World Health Organization (WHO):
"On the one hand, more countries than ever, more than half of all malaria endemic countries, are actually close to eliminating completely the disease within their national boundaries. And indeed, this year we've witnessed the success of having the largest malaria endemic country in the world, China, being certified malaria free and also one of the smallest countries in the world, El Salvador, being certified malaria free and a whole set of other countries are lined up to be certified malaria free. On the other side of the equation, some of the high burdened countries, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, continue to bear a disproportionate brunt of the disease, and the substantial number of them are actually worsening their malaria situation with respect to what they had in 2015. So, a mixed picture, but globally we're off track."

To get back on track, WHO and its partners recognize the need to ensure better and more equitable access to all health services – including malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment – by strengthening primary health care and stepping up both domestic and international investments.

SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Pedro Alonso, Director, Global Malaria Programme, World Health Organization (WHO):
"This year has been an extraordinary year on October 6th, the Director-General of WHO, following the advice of external advisory bodies and the results of the Malaria Vaccine Implementation Program, announced for the first time in history that WHO recommended the malaria vaccine, a first-generation malaria vaccine, to be deployed broadly to children living in areas of moderate to high transmission. This announcement is now being followed by the decision by the Gavi board to open up a window of funding for a malaria vaccine to reach those that need it. The significance of these two announcements, first, the WHO recommendation, secondly, the Gavi endorsement is, I believe, truly historical. We need new tools. With the tools we have right now we can save lives and we have saved lives, but we cannot imagine that we will go on making the type of progress that is needed. We need also technological tools. We need new vaccines. We need new medicines. And the fact that for the first time, a malaria vaccine can join the other tools that we have to more effectively fight malaria to reduce what we estimate, an extra 40 to 8,0000 deaths of African children every year is a scientific and public health breakthrough."

Innovation in new tools is also a critical strategy for accelerating progress. One important new prevention tool is RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S), the first vaccine ever to be recommended by WHO against a human parasite.

In October 2021, WHO recommended RTS,S for children living in sub-Saharan Africa and in other regions with moderate to high P. falciparum malaria transmission.

Despite the challenges imposed by COVID-19, about three-quarters (72 percent) of insecticide-treated mosquito nets had been distributed in malaria-endemic countries as planned by the end of 2020. Thirteen countries in Africa’s Sahel subregion reached 11.8 million more children with preventive antimalarial medicines during the high-transmission rainy season in 2020 compared to 2019.
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unifeed211206a
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