Since 2000, many countries where malaria is a serious threat have dramatically expanded and intensified their fight against this disease. As a result, deaths from malaria have dropped by 26 percent and the number of malaria cases has decreased by 17 percent. A great effort is now required to maintain these gains and to extend prevention coverage to all populations living in malaria endemic areas. Reducing the transmission and prevalence of malaria will provide the right conditions for the introduction of a malaria vaccine when it becomes available.
Malaria is caused by five species of parasitic protozoans of the genus Plasmodium that affect humans. Plasmodium parasites are transmitted to humans by the bite of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. Children under five years of age and pregnant women are most severely affected by malaria, as their immune system is less able to fight Plasmodium infection. Malaria is currently endemic in 99 countries, causing an estimated 219 million cases and 660,000 deaths per year, with about 80 percent of cases and 90 percent of deaths occurring in Africa. Malaria elimination is being pursued by 32 countries, while 67 countries are in the control phase.
Since its inception, the Global Fund has been the leading international donor for malaria alongside the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative. Through its network of partners and recipients, the Global Fund has supported malaria programs in 97 countries. A total of US$8.8 billion in funding has been approved since 2002, with about 70% for countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
More than 310 million long-lasting insecticidal mosquito nets have been distributed by programs supported by the Global Fund, one of our heaviest and most effective investments. Yet the Global Fund has provided funding across the spectrum of interventions to ensure implementation of comprehensive national malaria control programs. Financial support to malaria diagnosis and treatment, as well as to fundamental health systems strengthening activities, have played a critical role in supporting the gains made to date.
In spite of the impressive reductions in malaria deaths and cases worldwide, such progress remains fragile. Even short funding gaps of malaria control programs can have disastrous consequences, as malaria will rebound over the few months of a rainy season if control measures are relaxed. Furthermore, insecticide resistance in malaria mosquito vectors is on the increase and artemisinin-resistance has been identified in South-East Asia. Development of drug and insecticide resistance are causing concerns about losing key interventions in the fight against malaria.
Insecticide-treated nets distributed
Infographic: The Global Fight Against Malaria
WHO World Malaria Report
Global Malaria Action Plan
Roll Back Malaria Partnership
WHO Global Malaria Programme
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