Malaria progress at risk as funding for global response levels off, WHO report states
Published on December 20, 2012 at 2:00 AM
"The remarkable gains made in the treatment of malaria over the past decade are under threat because of insufficient increases in funding over the past two years, according to an annual progress report by the World Health Organization," the Guardian reports (Boseley, 12/17). In its World Malaria Report 2012 (.pdf), the [WHO] notes that rapid expansion in global funding for malaria prevention and control between 2004 and 2009 leveled off between 2010 and 2012," the U.N. News Centre writes (12/17). "Global funding for malaria control remained at $2.3 billion in 2011, the WHO said" in the report, Bloomberg notes, adding, "Money available for combating the mosquito-borne disease is expected to peak at about half of the $5.1 billion that's needed annually to provide bed nets, tests and drugs to all the people who need them, the WHO said" (Bennett, 12/17). "This means that millions of people living in highly endemic areas continue to lack access to effective malaria prevention, diagnostic testing, and treatment," according to a WHO press release (12/17).
"In 2010, about 145 million bed nets were given out across Africa to protect people against the mosquitoes that spread the killer disease. Last year, that fell to about 66 million," the Associated Press/USA Today reports (Cheng, 12/17). "Since nets wear out in three years and children are always being born, large numbers of infants and toddlers will soon be unprotected if more money does not come in, the report warned," according to the New York Times (McNeil, 12/17). "The growth of indoor insecticide spraying has also leveled off, with only 11 percent of people most at risk able to use the sprays," correspondent Dominic Kane states in an Al Jazeera video report (12/17). However, "[t]he report found that the numbers of rapid diagnostic tests and artemisinin-based combination treatments were increasing," BMJ adds (Gulland, 12/18). "According to WHO data, the disease infected around 219 million people in 2010, killing around 660,000 of them," Reuters writes (Kelland, 12/17). But "WHO acknowledged there was 'a large degree of uncertainty' about its figures," with "solid data from countries representing just 15 percent of cases worldwide," the AP notes (12/17).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.