September 22, 2008

WHO Says Global Burden of Malaria Enormous

A new report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Saturday in Abuja, Nigeria's capital, said the global burden of malaria remains enormous.

The report noted that access to malaria control interventions, especially bed nets in Africa, increased sharply between 2004 and 2006, according to the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday.

The report cited WHO as saying that dramatic increases in funding and intense momentum toward reducing the malaria burden in recent years, there is a greater need for reliable information and analysis.

It said the report begins to answer that need.

The WHO World Malaria Report 2008, which draws upon data collected through 2006, estimated the number of malaria cases in 2006 to be 247 million.

The report said small children remain by far the most likely to die of the disease.

Malaria deaths have declined in several countries, and a few nations in Africa have managed to cut malaria deaths in half by following recommended measures.

The report said recent increases in malaria funding were beginning to translate to coverage of key malaria interventions, especially bed nets.

The percentage of children protected by insecticide-treated nets increased almost eight fold, from 3 in 2001 to 23 percent in the 18 African countries with surveys in 2006, the report said.

"Procurement of anti-malarial medicines also increased sharply between 2001 and 2006; approximately 100 million persons were protected by indoor spraying of insecticide, including 22 million in Africa," the report said.

The report noted that much more work remained to be done, adding that in Africa, bed nets protected only 125 million people in 2007, while 650 million are at risk.

Image Courtesy Wikipedia