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WHO Africa Regional Director Issues Message For World Malaria Day

In a message marking Monday’s World Malaria Day, Luis Gomes Sambo, WHO’s regional director for Africa, noted that this year signifies the end of the U.N. decade to roll back malaria and “offers an opportunity for renewed commitment” to fight the disease, the Angola Press reports (4/25).

“Malaria, by its complexity involving health as well as environmental and socioeconomic determinants and consequences, relates virtually to all the” Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), according to the text of Sambo’s message. He highlighted Africa’s significance in defeating malaria. “As it is well known, our part of the world is home to an estimated 795 million people exposed to malaria. Close to 90% of deaths due to malaria worldwide occur in Africa. … Therefore, progress in the fight against malaria in Africa is critical to reaching the ambitious targets set in the U.N. Secretary-General’s call for Universal Access to essential interventions, the AU Abuja Declaration and Plan of Action, Resolutions of WHO Governing Bodies and the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Global Malaria Action Plan (GMAP).”

In his message, Sambo outlined priorities for malaria control and called on governments, NGOs, the “private sector, civil society groups, faith-based organizations and all exposed communities to take stock of our common achievements and mobilize financial and human resources in a decisive push to further accelerate malaria prevention and control for the socioeconomic progress of countries of the African Region” (4/25).

The Guardian Examines Malaria Data

The Guardian’s “Data Blog” highlights how malaria affects people in different countries, using data from the most recent World Malaria Report, which was released in December.

The blog notes, “Data on malaria is notoriously patchy. The WHO only began commissioning annual reports on the state of malaria in 2008 … But because most of the world’s malaria deaths occur at home, in private clinics, or in informal health centres, data from government records dramatically under-reports the human cost of the disease.” More than 90 percent of malaria cases worldwide are likely to go unreported, according to Richard Cibulskis, coordinator of the WHO’s global malaria program. “One of the issues is that the data systems are weakest in the places where malaria is the most common,” he said, adding, “For some countries in Africa, we don’t have any good data at all” (Provost, 4/25).

World Bank Highlights Its Malaria Efforts

According to a World Bank press release, the bank has pledged $762.8 million to fight malaria in Africa since 2005, which is a “more than ten-fold increase” from its commitments between 2000 and 2005. The bank also has “financed 73.8 million insecticide-treated mosquito nets and 25.3 million doses of malaria medication over the past five years.”

“Over the past decade, 11 African countries have reduced confirmed malaria cases or malaria admissions and deaths by more than 50%. In all of them – Algeria, Botswana, Cape Verde, Eritrea, Madagascar, Namibia, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zambia – these decreases are linked with intense malaria control interventions,” according to the press release, which highlights malaria reduction successes in different countries (4/24).  

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