The latest report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) indicates that global effort to curb malaria is succeeding phenomenally.
More than 3 million lives have been saved so far this century with better prevention and better medicines, according to the report. Public and private donors have targeted hard hit countries by funding programs like the one in Kenya.
The World Malaria Report 2013 says 3 million lives, mostly those of children, have been spared, with the death rate being cut by nearly a half.
Dr. Robert Newman, the head of WHO’s global malaria programme, is quoted by the VOA news as saying there has been a large increase over the last 12 years in financing for malaria control efforts. He says the organisation has purchased lifesaving commodities like long-lasting insecticide treated nets, insecticides for indoor spraying, diagnostic tests and anti-malarial medicines.
Malaria is a major killer disease in more than 100 countries, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Asia. Dr. Newman expects the number of deaths from malaria to drop even more over the next 10 years.
Newman predicts a vaccine will be ready within 20 years and cut the number of cases by 75 percent.
Experts say without malaria, productivity will increase. People will be better able to provide food for their families, and they can put the money they normally use to buy anti-malarial drugs toward other uses.
Challenges in the fight against malaria include a growing resistance to anti-malarial drugs and insecticides. But Dr. Newman said the lack of sufficient financial resources is an even bigger threat.
The U.N. Children’s Fund and other organizations supply bed nets, one of the main protections against mosquitos that carry the malaria parasite. Agencies that offer help to prevent and treat malaria say they have only half the funds they need.