WHO: a call for massive investment in the fight against malaria
GENEVA – Progress in the fight against malaria, a disease mainly affecting Africa, has stalled for two years, warned WHO on Friday, which calls for massive investment to create a more effective vaccine.
"The world is at a crossroads. Historical progress made in recent decades clearly slows down. There are still over 400,000 deaths and 200 million cases every year, "warned the director of the World Health Organization (WHO) conference on malaria, Pedro Alonso, at a press conference.
In a document published on Friday and prepared by a group of experts authorized by WHO, they indicate that after enormous progress in reducing the number of cases and deaths in 2000–2015, the last two years have been marked by stagnation.
The world is not on track to reach its 2015 targets. In 2030, that is, a 90% reduction in the number of malaria cases and deaths associated with this disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes.
The expert group estimates that by 2030 USD 34 billion (almost EUR 30.7 billion) should be invested to accelerate the fight against malaria, including the improvement of malaria health care and surveillance systems, and the development of new tools for more effective disease control, such as like vaccines.
Alonso explained that the current vaccine was only 40% effective.
Expert group analysis suggests that increasing current malaria interventions would prevent 2 billion cases and 4 million additional deaths by 2030, provided the population is benefited by the 29 most affected countries.
Only then could the world begin to discuss the next step: set a date to eliminate the disease, Alonso said.
"There are no biological barriers to the fight against malaria," but current tools do not allow it, he said.
"The elimination of malaria on a global scale is one of the greatest successes in the field of public health. Thanks to new tools and new approaches, we can make this ideal a reality, "said WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a statement.
Over 90% of malaria deaths occur annually in sub-Saharan Africa. But only half of those at risk in Africa sleep under insecticidal mosquito nets.