Seattle — This year’s World Malaria Report exposes the high stakes of maintaining the progress the world has made against malaria since 2000, an achievement that makes it one of the best global health success stories of our time.
While the World Health Organization’s (WHO) report shows a continued overall trend in decline in malaria deaths, it confirms that the tremendous gains driving down malaria cases and deaths has stalled and the world is off-track for achieving the first of global elimination targets by 2020. The report also highlights a flatlining of global funding for malaria control and elimination and, that while malaria surveillance and reporting have become more sophisticated, significant challenges remain.
“Progress since 2000 has proven that malaria control is one of the best humanitarian investments in the world today, creating $20 in economic benefits for every $1 invested. But to realize these benefits, we need to invest current resources more efficiently and expand overall financing for the malaria fight. Malaria-affected countries, with sustained commitment from global donors, must step up efforts to fully fund their ambitious national control and elimination plans and, the global community must invest more to develop new tools and strategies that can help end this disease for good,” said Martin Edlund, Malaria No More CEO.
“This report presents a clear choice: either we do what is necessary to end this disease, or we risk backsliding on previous investments and letting malaria resurge at the cost of millions of lives and trillions of dollars in economic benefits,” said Edlund.
Key World Malaria Report findings for 2016 include:
- At 445,000 deaths, there was minimal change since 2015, and malaria cases went up for the first time in a decade, to a total of 216 million.
- An estimated $2.7 billion in malaria control and elimination efforts was invested in malaria control and elimination efforts globally. However, this amount falls far short of what is needed to achieve global elimination targets of reducing malaria cases and deaths globally by 40% in 2020 and by 90% in 2030, compared to 2015 levels.
- Insufficient domestic and international investments are contributing to major gaps in coverage of insecticide-treated nets, and other life-saving medicines and tools. To continue down the path of progress and achieving global elimination targets, resources need to more than double by 2020.
- 24 countries that have more than 300,000 cases are showing signs of resurgence; while 44 malaria-affected countries with less than 10,000 cases are on course toward elimination.
- The WHO African Region continues to bear an estimated 90% of all malaria cases and deaths worldwide, with 15 countries – all but one in sub-Saharan Africa – carrying 80% of the global malaria burden.
- 37 of 46 countries in the WHO African region indicated that at least 80% of public health facilities had reported data on malaria through their national health information system. Effective surveillance is essential for identifying populations at greatest risk, improving the targeting of malaria tools and interventions to ensure maximum impact, and bolstering health security by monitoring for and identifying new epidemics before they spread.
In 2000, the world committed to protect millions of people from preventable and treatable diseases. Since then, thanks to significant investment, strong political leadership, and rapidly expanding access to life-saving prevention, testing, and treatment tools, we have seen a historic decline in malaria cases and deaths, saving more than 7 million lives from this deadly disease. This success emboldened the world in 2015 to call for ending this and other communicable diseases once and for all.
The United States’ commitment to combatting malaria – through the President’s Malaria Initiative and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria – has been critical to the world’s progress, representing 38% of global funding in the past year. The expansion of the President’s Malaria Initiative, announced in September, will extend this impact to another 90 million people across Africa.
Malaria No More is a non-profit organization that envisions a world where no child dies of a mosquito bite. It works with global leaders to mobilize the political will, resources, and innovations to save lives and accomplish malaria eradication within a generation. Malaria No More has offices in the United States, Kenya, and Cameroon, and affiliates in the United Kingdom and Japan. For more information, visit www.malarianomore.org.