In sub-Saharan Africa, which shoulders the heaviest malaria burden, progress has been impressive. Malaria is no longer the leading cause of death of African children. More than half the population at risk is now sleeping under insecticide-treated mosquito nets, compared to just 2 percent in 2000. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, despite suffering years of conflict, malaria deaths have fallen by 72 percent between 2000 and 2014 – mainly due to the mass distribution of mosquito nets, a cheap, effective tool that keeps families safe. In Nigeria, another country with many challenges and with a huge disease burden, deaths from the disease dropped by 62 percent.
Impact against malaria has also been significant in Asia. In Pakistan for example, malaria death and malaria incidence rates have fallen by 73 percent and 72 percent respectively. Better data and monitoring, closer case management and the use of innovate approaches such as mass drug administration in “hot spots” in hard-to-reach areas have reduced malaria deaths in Myanmar to 92 in 2014, from 2,634 in 2002.
New procurement approaches have achieved substantial cost savings for partners and brought down the price of a mosquito net to US$3 – a 30 percent drop from just a few years ago.
But we can’t stop now. Malaria remains one of the world’s deadliest diseases, straining economies and health care systems in endemic countries. Defeating malaria is critical to improving maternal and child health and to ending poverty. Healthier communities mean children don’t miss days of school due to illness, and more productive workers. A malaria-free world would enable millions of people to reach their full potential and make the world a better and safer place.
On World Malaria Day, the Global Fund partnership celebrates the collective progress and calls on the global community to finish the job. Through sustained investments, shared responsibility and continued innovation, the world has an opportunity to end malaria as a major public health threat by 2030. Let’s end malaria for good.