WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group on Malaria Eradication also calls for immediate actions and investments to move the world faster towards ending malaria.
Seattle, WA, September 8, 2019 — Based on modelling and additional analyses that consider global trends, new innovations, efficiencies and funding, a new report launched by The Lancet Commission on malaria eradication concludes that malaria, one of the world’s oldest and deadliest diseases, can and should be eradicated within a generation.
Authored by 41 leading malaria experts and representing numerous disciplines, The Lancet Commission’s report projects how – with the right tools, strategies, and sufficient funding – the world can eradicate malaria. The first academic report of its kind also proposes solutions to the major operational, biological and financial challenges to achieving this goal.
The Lancet Commission report follows the release of the executive summary of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) report of the Strategic Advisory Group on Malaria Eradication expected later this year. Both The Lancet Commission’s report and WHO advisory group’s summary conclude that despite tremendous progress made against malaria in recent decades putting the world on a path to eradication, current trends and tools, along with a plateau in global funding, are not enough.
Experts from The Lancet Commission and WHO advisory group point to urgent actions required by the global community, including increased funding by donor and malaria-affected countries; greater investment in developing and distributing new transformative tools; making better use of existing tools through the use of data; and, stronger leadership and partnerships. They also emphasize that the socio-economic benefits of eradicating malaria will far outweigh the increased investments needed to achieve the ambitious and worthwhile goal.
“New evidence shows that eradicating malaria is feasible, and we must do everything we can to equip the world to end this preventable disease within a generation,” said Martin Edlund, CEO of Malaria No More. “If we double down on ending malaria now, the world will reap massive social, humanitarian and economic benefits and save millions of people from needlessly dying from mosquito bites.”
Calling for increased commitments and collaborations by political leaders, the private sector and civil society, both groups concluded that eradicating malaria will save millions of lives, help reduce poverty and provide significant global economic benefits.
In an accompanying commentary in The Lancet, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, reinforced the Commission’s findings, and challenged world leaders to deliver on promises made to end malaria. According to WHO’s advisory group, scaling up malaria control tools to reach 90% of people in the 29 highest malaria burden countries by 2030 could yield an estimated economic gain of $283 billion that would far exceed estimated costs of around $35 billion.
Malaria eradication possible due to major progress since 2000
Since 2000, innovations, political commitment and increased global investments, led by U.S. support for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative, have reduced malaria deaths by 60% and malaria cases by 37%, saving seven million lives and preventing more than one billion malaria cases.
More countries than ever are malaria-free. According to the WHO, the number of countries with less than 100 indigenous malaria cases – a strong indicator that elimination is within reach – increased from 15 in 2010 to 26 in 2017. Within the last decade, 11 countries have been certified malaria-free, including Algeria, Argentina, Paraguay and Uzbekistan in the last two years. The WHO expects to meet the goal of at least 10 countries where malaria was endemic in 2015 eliminating local transmission for at least one year by 2020.
Challenges to overcome remain
Today, half the world’s population remains at risk for malaria and a child still dies every two minutes from this preventable disease. Fifteen countries in sub-Saharan Africa and India carry approximately 80% of the global malaria burden and malaria cases in the ten highest malaria burden countries in Africa have been increasing since 2015. In addition, new challenges are emerging to threaten global progress, including drug and insecticide resistance.
“Experts across the globe confirm that current efforts are not enough to end malaria,” Edlund said. “We are at a critical point where the actions we take in the next few years will ‘make or break’ our chances of ending malaria. We need to accelerate development of new tools, expand investments from malaria-affected and donor countries and maximize existing resources by harnessing data and partnerships more effectively. By working together towards a shared vision, we can achieve what would be one of the greatest humanitarian achievements – ending malaria.”
For more information or interview requests, contact Wynne Boelt at +1 206-661-2798 or wynne.boelt@MalariaNoMore.org
About Malaria No More
Malaria No More envisions a world where no one dies from a mosquito bite. More than a decade into our mission, our work has contributed to historic progress toward this goal. Now, we’re mobilizing the political commitment, funding, and innovation required to achieve what would be one of the greatest humanitarian accomplishments – ending malaria within our generation. For more information, visit www.malarianomore.org