Leadership (Abuja)

Africa: WHO - Financial Shortfall Threatens Anti-Malaria Fight in Sub-Saharan Africa

During the past decade, global malaria prevention and control efforts have been scaled up, with notable progress in sub-Saharan Africa. However, ... ( Resource: Scale Up the Fight Against Malaria - WHO

The WHO World Malaria Report 2012, says financial shortfall threatens progress on malaria deaths throughout sub-Saharan Africa, just as historic gains are being realised.

The WHO said in a statement on Monday that the progress continued in 2012.

It also sounded the alarm on a looming financial crisis that threatened to stall or even wipe out recent gains against the disease.

It noted that the current scale-up in the fight against malaria had saved more than one million lives over the past decade.

The report called for an urgent need for funding to replace insecticide-treated bed nets, expand treatment and diagnostic testing, noting that the nets had a three-year life span.

"If nets are not replaced, individuals previously protected from malaria become vulnerable, leading to potential epidemics. Children are most at risk".

The report says 3.6 billion dollars additional funding was required in sub-Saharan Africa between now and 2015.

It added that Nigeria alone required one billion dollars in order to stave off backsliding and resurgence as early as 2013 and 2014

"In order to stave off backsliding and resurgence as early as 2013 and 2014, 2.4 billion dollars is urgently required, of which one billion dollars is required in Nigeria alone.

"This funding shortfall is occurring just three years before Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's deadline for reaching near zero malaria deaths at the end of 2015.

"The report documents significant progress over the past two years with deliveries of Rapid Diagnostic Tests, increasing from 88 million in 2010 to 155 million in 2011.

"Also, WHO-approved drugs for treating malaria, increased from 158 million in the public sector in 2009 to 278 million in all sectors in 2011.

"Access to Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) remained constant, with nearly 300 million usable nets having been delivered since 2010."

Reacting to the WHO report, Ray Chambers, UN Secretary-General's and Special Envoy for Malaria and MDGs Advocate, called on all the partners.

He asked them to mount an unprecedented big push over the next 36 months, to achieve the Secretary- General's vision, of a world where no child dies from malaria.

"If we fail to come together and urgently resolve the funding shortfall, there will be no averting a humanitarian crisis.

"Millions of children can be saved in the coming years, with methods that have already proven their success, yet we will lose this chance if funds are not mobilised immediately."

Also speaking, Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Executive Director, said predictable funding was central to anti-malaria fight.

"We cannot achieve further progress, unless we ensure that sustained and predictable financing is available.

"We must act with urgency and determination to keep this tremendous progress from slipping out of our grasp".

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InFocus

New Report Signals Slowdown in Malaria Fight

In its World Malaria Report 2012, the World Health Organization (WHO) says U.S.$3.6 billion dollars in additional funding is needed to fight malaria between now and 2015 in order ... Read more »