From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Tue Dec 15 2009 - 17:55:26 EST
WHO: Increased funds show results in malaria battle
Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:30am GMT
* More money for malaria control starting to show results
* Funding grew to $1.7 bln in 2009 from $0.3 bln in 2003
* But $5 billion more needed each year for maximum impact
By Kate Kelland
... In countries that have high coverage with bed nets and treatment
programmes, such as Eritrea, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Zambia and
Tanzania, cases of malaria and deaths from the disease have halved, the
LONDON, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Increased funding is starting to pay off in the
battle against malaria but prevention and treatment must be increased to try
to halt the killer disease, the World Health Organisation said on Tuesday.
The WHO's World Malaria Report 2009 found "significant progress" in the
delivery of mosquito nets and malaria drugs, thanks largely to an increase
in funds to $1.7 billion in 2009 from $0.3 billion in 2003. But it said $5
billion more was needed every year to get maximum global impact worldwide.
"The tremendous increase in funding for malaria control is resulting in the
rapid scale up of today's control tools," WHO director-general Margaret Chan
said in a statement.
"This, in turn, is having a profound effect on health -- especially the
health of children in sub-Saharan Africa. In a nutshell, development aid for
health is working."
Around 40 percent of the world's population is at risk of malaria, a
potentially deadly disease transmitted via mosquito bites. It kills more
than a million people worldwide each year and children account for about 90
percent of the deaths in the worst affected areas of sub-Saharan Africa and
parts of Asia.
The fight against malaria has been slowed by resistance to chloroquine, the
cheapest and most widely used malaria drug, which is now common throughout
Resistance to sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, often seen as the first and least
expensive alternative, is also increasing.
As a result, artemisinin combination therapy drugs, or ACTs -- made by firms
such as Novartis (NOVN.VX:
<http://af.reuters.com/stocks/quote?symbol=NOVN.VX> Quote) and Sanofi
-Aventis (SASY.PA: <http://af.reuters.com/stocks/quote?symbol=SASY.PA>
Quote) -- are now regarded as the best medicines against malaria, but access
to them is limited because they are expensive. [ID:nL187891]
The WHO report found a marked increase in ownership of insecticide-treated
nets (ITNs) in 2008 from previous years -- more than half of homes in 13 of
the 35 African countries worst affected by malaria have at least one net.
Use of artemisinin-based combination therapies is growing but remains low in
most African countries, it said, with fewer than 15 percent of children with
fever getting the drugs.
In countries that have high coverage with bed nets and treatment programmes,
such as Eritrea, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Zambia and Tanzania, cases
of malaria and deaths from the disease have halved, the report said.
This suggests that internationally agreed targets to try to halt and reduce
the malaria can be achieved if the right interventions are used widely
enough, it added.
Large falls in malaria cases and deaths in places where such action is
succeeding have also been mirrored by steep declines in child death rates
from all causes, suggesting that malaria control efforts could help many
African countries to reach a 2015 target of a two-thirds reduction in child
mortality. (For a FACTBOX on the report's main findings, please click on
[ID:LDE5BC0KA] (Editing by Jon Hemming)
C Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved
----[This List to be used for Eritrea Related News Only]----