“We know what works. The challenge now is to do even more”

“We know what works. The challenge now is to do even more”

9 December 2015

Figures released today in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) World Malaria Report 2015 highlights the leaps and strides made to date in the fight to end malaria.

Remarkably, of the 106 countries with malaria in 2000, more than half have reduced new malaria cases by at least 75% in 2015. This translates to malaria deaths in children under five reducing from 723,000 in 2000 to 306,000 in 2015. A huge achievement by anybody’s measure.

In Africa too, malaria deaths for children under-five have reduced by an enormous 71% - and the region has saved an estimated $900 million in healthcare costs as a result of effective preventative efforts (including mosquito nets). Whilst these are major wins in the fight to end malaria, we cannot sit back and relax; almost 90% of malaria cases and deaths still occurred in the African region in 2015 – with Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo alone accounting for more than 35% of these deaths. 

James Whiting, our Executive Director says: “What a year it has been for the fight to end malaria. This report shows what can be achieved when political and financial commitments are stepped up. The malaria campaign works. It delivers. A malaria free world is not just a pipe dream anymore, it really could become a reality. But this is no time for dreaming when right now, in this world, hundreds of thousand of children are dying still from a disease that costs less than £1 to treat. In a world of endless opinions, ideologies and choices isn’t this something to unite us all? We must stop this easily preventable and treatable disease from killing children. As we look ahead to 2016, we hope we can continue to count on the support of the UK public, parliamentarians, our corporate partners and wider society as we take the next steps down the road to end malaria once and for all.“

The report also highlights enormous wins in other regions of the world: for the first time, the European region has reported no cases of malaria diagnosed. Malaria deaths declined by 85% in the South-East Asia region, 72% in the Americas, 65% in the Western Pacific and 64% in the Eastern Mediterranean region. Many countries and entire regions are on the path to eliminating malaria.

“Since the start of this century, investments in malaria prevention and treatment have averted over 6 million deaths,” said Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. “We know what works. The challenge now is to do even more.”

We can’t forget that half of the world’s population, approximately 3.2 billion people, are still at risk of malaria. Whilst many parts of the world are working towards malaria elimination, countries with weaker health systems are experiencing a slower decline in malaria cases and deaths. Millions of people are still not receiving the services they need to prevent and treat malaria. With that in mind, amidst such great malaria news, we cannot become complacent; we must keep up the momentum and continue to fuel the fight against malaria. 

Will you help us fuel the fight?