AP Examines WHO Target Of Reducing Malaria Deaths To Near Zero By 2015

The Associated Press/San Francisco Chronicle examines what it will take for the WHO to reach its new target of reducing malaria deaths to near zero by the end of 2015 and how “[s]ome experts questioned if WHO should be setting such lofty goals, especially at a time of declining funding.”

Robert Newman, director of WHO’s malaria program, called the new goal “aspirational,” and he “added that it wouldn’t be accomplished unless every person at risk has access to a bednet and suspected cases are properly diagnosed and treated. Newman also said it would cost $6 billion a year — about three times more than the world currently spends — to be successful,” the news agency writes. “He also said more investment is needed to improve disease surveillance,” and noted that new developments, including longer-lasting bednets, a vaccine, and new medicines, could eventually help stop the disease, according to the AP. Richard Tren, director of the non-profit Africa Fighting Malaria, said the new target “may undermine malaria (control) in the long term,” and Tido von Schoen Angerer, an executive director at Medecins Sans Frontieres, said, “We really risk losing some of the hard-won (gains) in malaria control” if major funders pull back, according to the AP (Cheng, 12/14).