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WHO report highlights goal of eliminating malaria in 35 countries by 2030.
The World Health Organization (WHO) released a report on World Malaria Day, April 25, 2016, outlining the achievability of eliminating malaria in at least 35 countries by 2030. In a press announcement, WHO says that though this goal may be ambitious, it is achievable.
In 2015, WHO said, all countries in the WHO European region reported zero indigenous cases of malaria, down from 90,000 cases in 1995. Outside this region, eight countries reported zero cases of the disease in 2014: Argentina, Costa Rica, Iraq, Morocco, Oman, Paraguay, Sri Lanka, and United Arab Emirates. Another eight countries each tallied fewer than 100 indigenous malaria cases in 2014. And a further 12 countries reported between 100 and 1000 indigenous malaria cases in 2014.
“Our report shines a spotlight on countries that are well on their way to eliminating malaria,” said Pedro Alonso, director of the WHO Global Malaria Programme. “WHO commends these countries while also highlighting the urgent need for greater investment in settings with high rates of malaria transmission, particularly in Africa. Saving lives must be our first priority.”
According to the WHO report, in 2000,106 countries had cases of the disease. By 2015, more than half (57 countries) of these countries had reduced the appearance of new malaria cases by at least 75%. But, WHO notes, the “fight is far from over” when it comes to eliminating malaria.
WHO estimates that about 3.2 billion people currently remain at risk for malaria. In 2015, there were 214 million new cases of malaria and 400,000 malaria-related deaths. The efficacy of the tools that secured the gains against malaria in the early years of this century is now threatened, WHO said in a press announcement. Mosquito resistance to insecticides used in nets and indoor residual spraying is growing. Parasite resistance to a component of one of the most powerful antimalarial medicines is also growing. WHO notes that further progress against malaria will likely require new tools that do not exist today and the further refining of new technologies.