WHO hails big gains in anti-malaria fight

April 24, 2012

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.

Explore further: Malaria: global deaths down by a fifth over a decade

Related Stories

Malaria: global deaths down by a fifth over a decade

September 12, 2011

Global deaths from malaria have fallen by a fifth over the past decade, reflecting an influx of funds to fight the disease with better drugs and mosquito nets, Roll Back Malaria said Monday.

Malaria prevention saves children's lives

March 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 ...

Recommended for you

Cellphone data can track infectious diseases

August 20, 2015

Tracking mobile phone data is often associated with privacy issues, but these vast datasets could be the key to understanding how infectious diseases are spread seasonally, according to a study published in the Proceedings ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.