Health
Global malaria battle stalls as financing gets tight
Publish Date: Dec 17, 2012
Global malaria battle stalls as financing gets tight
Malaria is one of the leading infectious killers in the world. PHOTO/Reuters
  • mail
  • img
newvision

LONDON - Global funding for the fight against malaria has stalled in the past two years, threatening to reverse what the World Health Organisation (WHO) says are "remarkable recent gains" in the battle to control one of the world's leading infectious killers.

After rapid expansion between 2004 and 2009, funding for malaria prevention and control levelled off between 2010 and 2012 - meaning there were fewer life-saving steps taken in hard- hit malarial regions such as sub-Saharan Africa.

The WHO's World Malaria Report, published on Monday, found the number of long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets delivered to endemic countries in sub-Saharan Africa dropped from 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," it said.

Malaria is caused by a parasite carried in the saliva of mosquitoes and kills hundreds of thousands of people a year, mainly babies and children under the age of five in Africa.

According to WHO data, the disease infected around 216 million people in 2010, killing around 655,000 of them. Robust figures are, however, hard to establish and other health experts say the annual malaria death toll could be double that.

An estimated $5.1 billion a year is needed between 2011 and 2020 to get malaria medicines, prevention measures and tests to all those who need then in the 99 countries which have on-going transmission of the disease.

The WHO says that while many countries have increased financing for malaria, the total available global funding remained at $2.3 billion in 2011 - less than half of what is needed.

"Global targets for reducing the malaria burden will not be reached unless progress is accelerated in the highest burden countries," Robert Newman, director of the WHO Global Malaria Programme, said in statement with the report.

"These countries are in a precarious situation and most of them need urgent financial assistance to procure and distribute life-saving commodities."

The WHO report found that by far the greatest impact of malaria is concentrated in 14 endemic countries which account for an estimated 80 percent of malaria deaths.

Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are the most affected countries in sub-Saharan Africa, while India is the hardest hit in South East Asia.

WHO director general Margaret Chan wrote in a forward to the report that there is now an urgent need to identify new sources of funding to boost and sustain malaria control.

"We also need to examine new ways to make existing funds stretch further by increasing the value for money of malaria commodities and the efficiency of service delivery," she said.

The Roll Back Malaria Partnership, which includes the WHO, UNICEF and the World Bank, said it was already exploring several options, including financial transaction taxes, airline ticket taxes and a potential "malaria bond" to encourage more involvement from private sector investors.

Reuters



The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Condoms
Ugandan MPs have been inundated with complaints that many condoms on sale are too small, warning the problem is a blow to the fight against AIDS....
New super-thin, skin-like condom being developed
The billionaire philanthropist says progress is being made on developing a "next-generation" ultra-thin, skin-like condom that could offer better sexual pleasure,...
Students push for Tobacco Control Bill passing
Students from five universities are petitioning parliament to pass the tobacco control bill, arguing that it has stayed too long on the shelf....
Mulago Hospital improves patients’ diet
Uganda’s national referral health facility Mulago Hospital has made adjustments to the meals it serves its in-patients, with a special diet introduced....
Obama: Ebola crisis
President Barack Obama issues a global call to action to fight the Ebola epidemic, warning the deadly outbreak was "spiraling out of control"....
200 Ugandan patients for sickle cell drug trial
At least 200 patients are to take part in a clinical trial for a more effective drug used to treat sickle cell anaemia....
Do you think installing CCTV cameras in public places will help in the fight against terrorism?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter