Each year the World Health Organization (WHO) puts out its official World Malaria Report [http://www.who.int/malaria/en/], which provides information on global efforts to reduce malaria, and statistics about malaria incidence and mortality. Last week, the WHO launched its World Malaria Report 2014.
This report contains some very good news about progress made in reducing malaria cases and deaths. The ELCA, together with our Lutheran companions and partners in Africa, has joined the global efforts to reduce and control malaria, and these global efforts are bringing about real change. For example,
- In 2004, only 3% of people in sub-Saharan African at risk of malaria had access to an insecticide-treated mosquito net. In 2013, nearly half of the affected population had a net! Scheduled net distributions in the coming months should bring that number even higher.
- Since 2000, malaria-related mortality has been reduced considerably in all sectors. Among under-5 children in sub-Saharan Africa (one of the most vulnerable populations), malaria mortality has been reduced by 58%!
- Although population in malarial areas has risen, the number of malaria infections has fallen dramatically. In 2000, there were 173 million malaria infections in the WHO Africa region; by 2013, this number had fallen to 128 million. Because of good education, access to malaria testing and treatment and other prevention and control measures that are now in place, fewer people are getting malaria, and fewer are dying from it. That is very good news.
The World Malaria Report cautions that continued success in malaria control will depend on continued funding of successful malaria programs. It also lifts up the medical challenges that are present in areas of Western African where Ebola continues to spread.
The ELCA Malaria Campaign is scheduled to conclude its fundraising activities at the end of 2015. However, our commitment to supporting the malaria reduction efforts of our Lutheran sisters and brothers in Africa and in other places will not end—our companions will still have the opportunity to apply for funding for malaria and other integrated health programs through our longstanding ELCA World Hunger program. Through Lutheran Disaster Response, the ELCA is also reaching out to our companions who are dealing with Ebola. The ELCA is committed to walking alongside our companions as they reach out to neighbors with programs that address both spiritual and physical wholeness.
Here are some helpful links to access more information on the World Malaria Report 2014:
- “Scale up in effective malaria control dramatically reduces deaths,” recent WHO news release:http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/malaria-control/en/
- Updated WHO malaria fact sheet: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs094/en/
- WHO 10 facts on malaria: http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/malaria/malaria_facts/en/
- “Fragile gains against malaria,” a New York Times editorial: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/14/opinion/sunday/fragile-gains-against-malaria.html?_r=0