The World Health Assembly has adopted a new global technical strategy for malaria, setting ambitious goals and targets for the next 15 years. Forty-one countries took the floor during the discussion – including Malawi speaking on behalf of the 47 countries of the African Region, and Indonesia speaking on behalf of the 11 countries of the South-East Asia Region. By adopting this strategy, Member States have set the target of reducing global malaria morbidity and mortality by 90% by 2030.
In Africa, a child dies every minute from a mosquito bite.
Malaria, a treatable disease caused by parasites spread through infected Anopheles mosquitoes, killed an estimated 453,000 children before their fifth birthdays in 2013, according to the latest data from the World Health Organization. That year’s 198 million global cases of malaria ended in some 584,000 deaths, 90% of which were in Africa.
Despite these heartrending statistics, we are able to celebrate signs of progress for World Malaria Day. Malaria mortality rates fell 47% globally between 2000 and 2013, due in large part to an increase in malaria interventions, such as insecticide-treated nets and indoor residual spraying. And of the 97 countries where the disease was still spreading in 2014, 64 are expected to meet the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goal of reversing malaria cases by 2015; 55 are on track to reduce malaria cases by 75% by the end of this year.
But there’s still work to be done. In order to eliminate malaria by 2030, it will cost $5.1 billion each year — double the funding that’s currently available. It’s a hefty price tag, but it could potentially save 12 million lives.