Swatting out malaria

Posted on September 30, 2015 by Ashley Debilzen
Ashley Debilzen

On Sept. 17, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that malaria deaths have dropped by 60 percent since 2000. This translates into 6.2 million lives saved over the past 15 years. Over that same time, the death rate among children under 5, who have historically made up more than two-thirds of all malaria deaths, fell by 65 percent. The sizeable drop in the death rate among children means an estimated 5.9 million children’s lives have been saved. Furthermore, since 2000, the rate of new malaria cases has dropped by 37 percent.

The report “Achieving the malaria MDG target” maintains that the U.N.’s goal to “have halted and begun to reverse the incidence” of malaria by 2015 has been met “convincingly.” Since being named as a goal, funding for malaria treatment and interventions has increased twentyfold, to $2.7 billion per year. Along with providing support for other forms of intervention, the increased funding has been used to distribute insecticide treated mosquito nets. The use of treated nets is credited with preventing 68 percent of malaria cases since 2000.

Increased funding also has helped expand the work of malaria programs that have distributed more than 1 billion mosquito nets in sub-Saharan Africa in the past 15 years alone. Despite the large number of nets in the region, many of the countries with high incidence and malaria death rates are in sub-Saharan Africa. So far in 2015, these countries accounted for 80 percent of malaria cases and 78 percent of malaria deaths globally.

Though we have come a long way in the fight against malaria, there were approximately 214 million new cases and about 438,000 malaria deaths in 2014. Even today, approximately 3.2 billion people – close to half of the world’s population – are still at risk of malaria, a preventable and treatable disease.

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Next steps for UNICEF-WHO

In May 2015, the World Health Assembly adopted a 15-year plan to further reduce the rates of global malaria incidence and mortality by 90 percent. According to the plan, annual funding for malaria programs would have to triple, from $2.7 billion today to $8.7 billion in 2030, to reach this lofty but attainable goal.

Next steps for the ELCA Malaria Campaign

Though we have reached our goal, fundraising efforts will continue until the end of the fiscal year (Jan. 31, 2016). If you would like to continue supporting malaria work, we encourage you to send gifts to ELCA World Hunger and write ‘malaria’ on your check’s memo line. Gifts can be sent to: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Gift Processing Center, P.O. Box 1809, Merrifield, VA 22116-8009. Or you can give online at www.ELCA.org/malaria/donate.

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This post was written using statistics featured in articles by the United Nations and the World Health Organization. To read these articles, go to www.undispatch.com/the-world-historic-news-today-that-you-may-have-missed/​ andwww.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2015/malaria-mdg-target/en/. ​

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