Worldwide malaria deaths drop by 20 percent

Worldwide malaria deaths have fallen by a fifth over the last decade, supported by increased funding to fight the disease with better drugs and more preventative measures like mosquito netting.

Roll Back Malaria reported that the number of deaths from the mosquito-borne illness fell to 781,000 in 2009, compared to at least 984,000 in 2000, according to AFP.

Over the last decade, spending on anti-malaria programs totaled $5 billion dollars. Funding rose from $100 million dollars in 2003 to $1.5 billion dollars in 2010.

"This dramatic rise in funding helped transform the malaria landscape, making universal coverage with proven interventions an achievable goal for many countries," RBM said in its "A Decade of Partnership and Results" report, according to AFP.

Several large donors have also served to boost funding levels in recent years, including the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

RBM claims that there has been a 38 percent reduction in the number of malaria deaths in the last ten years, a figure it came to based on an analysis of population growth and mortality trends from 2000, AFP reports.

Malaria prevention programs have, in recent years, distributed enough insecticide-treated mosquito nets to cover 80 percent of Africa’s at risk population. Approximately 80 percent of all malaria cases occur in sub-Saharan Africa.