LONDON (Reuters) – Malaria deaths have dropped dramatically since 2000 and cases are falling steadily as more people are properly diagnosed and treated and more get mosquito nets, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.
Yet progress against the mosquito-borne infection remains fragile and West African countries suffering an unprecedented epidemic of Ebola are particularly at risk of seeing a resurgence of malaria, the United Nations health agency said.
In its annual report on the disease, the WHO said the malaria death rate fell by 47 per cent worldwide between 2000 and 2013 and by 54 per cent in Africa, where about 90 per cent of all malaria deaths occur.
In an analysis of malaria’s impact across sub-Saharan Africa, it also found that despite a 43 per cent in-crease in population, fewer people in the region are infected every year.
Some 44 per cent of people at risk from malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa used mosquito nets in 2013, com-pared to just 2 per cent in 2004. And an expected 214 million nets will be delivered there by the end of 2014.
“The massive scale-up of mos-quito control measures, diagnostic testing and quality-assured treat-ment has helped to dramatically reduce the global disease burden,” said Pedro Alonso, director of the WHO’s global malaria programme.
“With sustained political com-mitment, increased financing, and with the help of innovative new tools, we should be able to accelerate efforts even further.”