As the WHO reported 331 malaria deaths in India in 2016, the highest in Southeast Asia, Health minister J P Nadda today asserted that the country has reduced its new malaria cases by one-third, and crossed the malaria mortality reduction targets which were to be achieved by 2020. Nigeria accounted for the highest proportion of cases globally at 27 per cent.
"Between 2015 and 2016, there were five million more malaria cases globally, and Rwanda saw the greatest increase in malaria cases, with almost a million people contracting the mosquito-borne disease, according to the World Malaria Report, released on Wednesday".
The report reveals a steep drop in the number of people protected from malaria by this method - from an estimated 180 million in 2010 to 100 million in 2016 - with the largest reductions seen in the African Region.
"... Malaria infected around 216 million people in 91 countries in 2016, an increase of 5 million cases over the previous year, the WHO said in its annual World Malaria Report".
Malaria deaths in India were only lower than those in WHO's Africa region where the figure soared to 33,997 for the Democratic Republic of Congo. "This year's report warns that we could lose the tremendous gains made in reducing malaria sickness and death in Africa unless we do more to save lives from this preventable and treatable disease".
A major problem is insufficient funding at both domestic and worldwide levels, resulting in major gaps in coverage of insecticide-treated nets, medicines, and other life-saving tools.
Between 2014 and 2016, substantial increases in case incidence occurred in the WHO Region of the Americas, and marginally in the WHO Southeast Asia, Western Pacific and African regions. Alonso worries that governments and donors have become complacent about malaria, given that deaths from the disease fell by an estimated 62 percent between 2000 and 2015.
"Clearly, if we are to get the global malaria response back on track, supporting the most heavily affected countries in the African Region must be the primary focus", said Dr Tedros.
The report has also criticised India's surveillance system as weak.
"Of this amount, 505 million ITNs were delivered in sub-Saharan Africa, compared with 301 million bed nets in the preceding 3-year period (2011-2013)", said the report. "But contributing factors included insufficient funding, a lack of interventions to prevent spread of the disease, risks posed by conflict in malaria endemic zones, irregular climate patterns, and the emergence of parasite resistance, the report said..."
Exceptions were Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Pakistan and Senegal, which recorded increases. "As African leaders, we must use the release of the World Malaria Report 2017 to energise our collective effort in the fight against one of our continent's most devastating diseases".
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James Spann: Showers return to Alabama Thursday
After the Wednesday morning commute the chance for rain is quite low as the cold front quickly moves on off to the east. Variably cloudy conditions continue for Friday and Saturday with just a small, small risk of a shower.