By Jessica Onyegbula
An International Organisation, Malaria No More (MNM), on Wednesday called on countries to buckle up to the battle against malaria as the scourge is yet to be defeated.
The organisation’s Chief Executive Officer, Martin Edlund, in a statement issued in Abuja, said that more still had to be done to end malaria.
Edlund said that despite the historic progress, malaria remained a daily threat, with half the world’s population still at risk.
“’In 2015, there were 429,000 malaria deaths and 212 million malaria cases; a child still dies from malaria every two minutes.
“In Sub-Saharan Africa, which, in 2015, contributed 90 per cent of malaria cases and 92 per cent of malaria deaths, the disease is the leading cause of missed days of school and worker absenteeism.
“The malaria fight is a great example of U.S. leadership across parties and we must continue until the job is done and people around the world are safe from this preventable and treatable disease,” he said.
According to Edlund, today, nearly seven million lives have been saved from malaria, more than one billion cases averted and 17 additional countries have eliminated malaria since 2000.
He linked the success story so far to increased political will, funding, innovation and the collective efforts of a global malaria partnership.
Meanwhile, at an event on the eve of World Malaria Day in Nairobi, WHO called today for accelerated scale-up of efforts to prevent malaria and save lives.
In sub-Saharan Africa, which shoulders 90% of the global malaria burden, more than 663 million cases have been averted since 2001.
Insecticide-treated nets have had the greatest impact, accounting for an estimated 69% of cases prevented through control tools.
Together with diagnosis and treatment, WHO recommends a package of proven prevention approaches, including insecticide treated nets, spraying indoor walls with insecticides, and preventive medicines for the most vulnerable groups: pregnant women, under-fives and infants.
“WHO-recommended tools have made a measurable difference in the global malaria fight,” said Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO.
“But we need a much bigger push for prevention – especially in Africa, which bears the greatest burden of malaria.”