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Are efforts to fight malaria paying off?

Press Release

Are efforts to fight malaria paying off?

GreenFacts summary of WHO World Malaria Report

Brussels, 22 April 2009. This week, World Malaria Day (25 April) draws attention to a disease that still infects nearly 250 million people each year and kills close to one million of them, especially children. Currently, half the world's population lives in areas where bites of infected mosquitoes could transmit the disease and many efforts are still needed to meet the 2010 target of delivering effective and affordable protection and treatment to at least 80% people at risk of malaria, as called for by the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon.

Latest facts and figures are provided by the "World Malaria Report 2008" produced by the World Health Organization (WHO) addressing worldwide disease trends and actions taken.

GreenFacts, provides the general public direct access to a concise and detailed plain-language summary of this authoritative WHO report at www.greenfacts.org/en/malaria/.

Highlights of the WHO World Malaria Report 2008

Malaria prevention - In areas where malaria cases are reported, people - especially pre-gnant women and children - should sleep under mosquito nets treated with long lasting insecticides. Despite increases in supply, the number of nets available is still by far insufficient in most countries.
Moreover, the inside walls of houses should be sprayed with insecticide to kill large numbers of mosquitoes. This spraying is typically restricted to areas with the highest number of cases, and only in a few countries does this method protect a significant proportion of the population at risk.

Malaria treatment - Currently, the best way to treat malaria is to use a combination of two or several anti-malarial drugs including artemisinin. The distribution of these drugs through public health services increased sharply since 2001. But access to treatment and rapid diagnostic tests remains insufficient and very uneven.

In 2008, 109 countries are still affected by Malaria and each one is at a different stage of malaria elimination.

  • In Africa, despite some progress, most countries are still far from meeting the WHO targets for prevention and treatment. For instance, in 2006, only one fifth of the mosquito nets needed had been distributed and less than one in five pre-gnant women was given preventive malaria treatment. However, a few African countries are performing well and there are some hopeful signs that the numbers of malaria cases and deaths are decreasing in these countries.
  • In the rest of the world, preventive measures often only target areas with the highest risk. Only a handful of countries were well supplied with anti-malarial drugs. Some South-East Asian countries that implemented strong malaria control campaigns reported decreasing numbers of malaria cases and deaths.

About GreenFacts

GreenFacts asbl/vzw is an independent, multi-stakeholder non-profit organization based in Belgium. Our mission is to bring complex scientific reports on health and the environment to the reach of non-experts.

We publish two types of faithful summaries of scientific reports: GreenFacts Digests of scientific consensus reports (authorised by the GreenFacts Scientific Board), and GreenFacts Co-Publications (published at the request of contracting organizations). GreenFacts' publications are freely available in several languages on www.greenfacts.org. Each publication is a faithful summary of an authoritative international scientific report.

GreenFacts was created in 2001 by individuals from scientific institutions, environmental and health organizations, and businesses, who called for wider access to unbiased information on health and the environment.

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