The Fight Against Malaria Has Reached a Standstill

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21 Nov 2018, 6:14 am


The Fight Against Malaria Has Reached a Standstill - Deaths from the disease plummeted from 2000 to 2013, but are now stuck at over 400,000 a year. Donor giving is flat, and some countries are not doing enough to protect their citizens.

Progress against malaria has stalled, and the disease remains a significant threat to billions of people despite the expensive, decades-long efforts to contain it, the World Health Organization reported on Monday.

According to the W.H.O.’s latest annual assessment, there were an estimated 220 million cases of malaria last year, and about 435,000 deaths from the disease. Of the dead, 262,000 were children under age 5.

The disease is caused by parasites transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. The world’s malaria rate — which began dropping sharply in the early 2000s as insecticide-impregnated nets, new drugs and much more money were poured into the fight — has been roughly the same since 2013, the report said.

Without openly criticizing any particular country, officials made it clear that some are doing too little to protect their citizens. “The past year has seen lights and shadows,” said Dr. Pedro L. Alonso, the W.H.O.’s malaria program director.

Pakistan, Ethiopia, Rwanda and India did well, he said. India had 3 million fewer cases in 2017 than in 2016, a 24 percent drop.

By contrast, Nigeria, Madagascar, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Mali, Niger, Indonesia, Burkina Faso and a few others are losing ground to the disease.

Nigeria, which has a quarter of all the world’s malaria cases, reported 1.3 million more last year than in 2016, the report said.

Latin America sees only a few hundred malaria deaths each year, but they increased last year, especially in Venezuela, where the economy has collapsed ...