Great strides in malaria control over past decade at risk as global funding plateaus:WHO
The impressive gains in malaria control and prevention seen during the past decade may be at risk as a lack of funding in the past couple years threatens continued progress, according to the World Malaria Report 2012 released today.
The biennial report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) notes that from 2004 to 2009, there was an impressive increase in international funding for malaria prevention, control and elimination.
After a UN call for universal access to malaria interventions in 2008, a rapid expansion in the distribution of life-saving commodities, like insecticide impregnated bed nets, in areas with the highest burden of malaria were achieved.
According to the report, an estimated 1.1 million malaria deaths were averted due to the malaria interventions.
However, funding has leveled off since 2010 threaten to reverse the remarkable recent gains in the fight against one of the world’s leading infectious killers.
According to the report, an estimated US$ 5.1 billion is needed every year between 2011 and 2020 to achieve universal access to malaria interventions. At present, only US$ 2.3 billion is available, less than half of what would be needed.
One example of interventions reduced due to the lack of increased funding is long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs). The report states the number of LLINs delivered to endemic countries in sub-Saharan Africa dropped from a peak of 145 million in 2010 to an estimated 66 million in 2012.
This means that many households will be unable to replace existing bed nets when required, exposing more people to the potentially deadly disease.
The expansion of indoor residual spraying programs, efforts to prevent the emergence and spread of parasite resistance to antimalarial medicines and mosquito resistance to insecticides are also constrained by inadequate funding.according to the report.
However, not all areas of malaria prevention, control and treatment have been adversely affected. Sales of rapid diagnostics tests (RDTs) and artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACT) have increased substantially.
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