WHO hails big gains in anti-malaria fight

The World Health Organisation heralded major gains Tuesday in the fight against malaria, one of the developing world's biggest killers, but warned universal access to treatment remains elusive.

"In the past 10 years, increased investment in and control has saved more than a million lives," the UN organisation's chief Margaret Chan said in a statement.

"But we are still far from achieving universal access to life-saving malaria interventions."

The assessment came on the eve of World Malaria Day, designed to shine the light on the mosquito-borne parasite that killed 655,000 people in 2010, including 560,000 children under five.

The WHO says the disease is the fifth-biggest killer in low-income countries.

But cheaper, easier testing, increased funding and growing use of insecticide-treated that protect people while they sleep have saved more than a million lives in the past decade, the WHO said.

Malaria has been eliminated in Armenia, Morocco and Turkmenistan, while Georgia and Iraq had no new cases in 2010, Richard Cibulskis, a doctor with the WHO's Global Malaria Programme, told a press conference in Geneva.

Of the 99 countries where malaria currently exists, eradicating the disease is feasible in 34, said Andrea Bossman, another doctor with the WHO's malaria programme.

In others, though, the picture is less rosy.

"For the hard-to-reach areas, especially the central areas of Africa with stable , we don't have yet the tools available today to completely interrupt transmission," Bossman said.

The WHO announced a new programme called T3 -- test, treat, track -- whose goal is to test every suspected malaria case worldwide, treat every confirmed case with multi-drug therapies centred on the drug , and closely monitor the disease to improve health officials' response.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Malaria prevention saves children's lives

Mar 28, 2012

Malaria continues to be a major disease worldwide, but while funding projects are working hard to improve malaria prevention it is difficult to measure how effective these interventions are. New research published in BioMed ...

Malaria top killer in Congo

Apr 30, 2008

Health officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo say malaria is the primary cause of illness and death, despite prevention efforts.

WHO claims gains in global fight against malaria

Dec 14, 2010

(AP) -- A massive malaria control program since 2008 has helped reduce infections across Africa and eradicate the disease in Morocco and Turkmenistan, but a slowdown in funding risks undoing those achievements, the World ...

Recommended for you

Saudi announces 11 new MERS infections

51 minutes ago

Saudi Arabia on Wednesday announced 11 new cases of MERS, including a 13-year-old child, as its acting health minister vowed to keep the public better informed on the coronavirus.

Homes now 'reservoirs' for superbug MRSA

Apr 21, 2014

An antibiotic-resistant "superbug," long a problem in health-care settings, is now taking up residence in people's homes, a new U.S. study finds.

User comments