World Malaria Day focuses on wiping out the disease
MANILA, 24 April 2017 - On World Malaria Day, commemorated every 25 April, WHO is calling for increased political and financial commitment to wipe out a disease that continues to kill more than 400 000 people each year.
This year’s theme — End Malaria for Good — focuses on the need for sustained investment and political commitment to reduce malaria cases and deaths with prevention, control and elimination efforts.
“Since 2000, the Western Pacific Region has made enormous strides, reducing the malaria burden much faster than in the rest of the world,” said Dr Shin Young-soo, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific.
Between 2010 and 2015, for example, the Western Pacific Region reduced malaria incidence by 30%, and deaths from malaria by a massive 58%.
“Leaders across Asia and the Pacific have committed to eliminating malaria from this Region by 2030. We are on track, but the job is not yet done – and we must remain focused and resolute until it is. There are more lives to be saved,” Dr Shin said.
Proven methods to control – and eventually eliminate – malaria include: strengthening vector control to prevent transmission; improving surveillance to better target prevention and control efforts; making accurate diagnosis quickly and readily available in areas where malaria is common; and providing fast and affordable access to effective treatment, so that a malaria diagnosis does not mean a death sentence.
These strategies are outlined in the Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016–2030, adopted by the World Health Assembly in 2015, and the Regional Action Framework for Malaria Control and Elimination in the Western Pacific 2016–2020, adopted by Member States of the WHO Western Pacific Region in 2016.
Countries in this Region have set very ambitious targets: by 2020 – just three years from now – we aim to reduce malaria prevalence by 30%, reduce deaths by 50%, and eliminate malaria in at least three countries.
“Strong political commitment, and the support of donors and partners, has been crucial to our success in reducing malaria cases and deaths in the past. It will be even more crucial in the future as we work towards closing the gap in preventative interventions which exists currently, and ending the disease,” Dr Shin said.
“The time for decisive action is now. Working together, we can end malaria for good,” Dr Shin concluded.
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