Rise in malaria cases sparks fears of a resurgence

World Health Organization said that bogus drugs are a growing threat as increased pharmaceutical trade

World Health Organization said that bogus drugs are a growing threat as increased pharmaceutical trade

The World Malaria Report 2017, a global assessment of progress in the fight against malaria, shows that while malaria incidence and mortality rates remain far lower than 2010 levels, progress is beginning to stall.

"Countries with weak malaria surveillance systems include India and Nigeria, two major contributors to the global burden of malaria, with 8% and 16% of cases, respectively, detected by the surveillance system", the report said. Democratic Republic of Congo had 10 per cent, India 6 per cent and Mozambique recorded 4 per cent of the global malaria cases.

"India has reduced its new malaria cases by one third, and even crossed the malaria mortality targets of 2020", said Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare J.P. Nadda at a high-level round table on "Accelerating the Elimination of Malaria in the Southeast Asia Region".

The report states some of the challenges impeding countries' abilities to stay on track and advance towards elimination include lack of sustainable and predictable worldwide and domestic funding, risks posed by conflict in malaria endemic zones among many others. The malaria deaths in India were only less to WHO's Africa region where the figure soared as high as 33,997 for Democratic Republic of Congo.

For 2016, the World Health Organization estimates there were 216 million malaria cases from 91 countries, up from 211 million cases in 2015.

The progress made by Madagascar, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and The Gambia is commendable and shows us that we can do more to save our families, communities and countries from this disease. Between 2014 and 2016, just 15.5 million insecticide treated mosquito nets, regarded as the primary prevention method for malaria were distributed in India. The annual investment required to reach the 40 percent reduction goal by 2020, however, is $6.5 billion. Plasmodium falciparum is the dominating parasite in the country it seems to be decreasing as the other cases are coming to light by the other parasites.

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Government at federal and state levels, in partnership with global health donors and non-governmental agencies, always embark on campaigns against malaria by distributing drugs, especially pregnant women, and mosquito treated nets.

Fighting between the armed Boko Haram group and the Nigerian military left at least 20,000 people dead and more than 2.6 million displaced in the northeastern region. "Without urgent action, we risk going backwards, and missing the global malaria targets for 2020 and beyond", he said. The global tally of malaria deaths reached 445 000 deaths, about the same number reported in 2015.

The U.S. remains the largest global source of malaria financing, giving $1 billion, in 2016. Alonso worries that governments and donors have become complacent about malaria, given that deaths from the disease fell by an estimated 62% between 2000 and 2015. However, new responses are needed to address growing concerns over drug resistance in the Mekong region, insecticide resistance in large areas of Africa, as well as an upsurge of malaria in humanitarian hotspots including Yemen and Venezuela.

The report also pointed out the loopholes in the surveillance mechanism of India.

The vast majority of deaths were in children under the age of five in the poorest parts of sub-Saharan Africa.

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