SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

WHO optimistic for future elimination of malaria

WHO optimistic for future elimination of malaria.
In a report released Dec. 9, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that, based on statistical data, cases of malaria have decreased in surveyed countries to the point that elimination of the disease may be possible.

Estimates indicate that half of the 106 countries who reported malaria outbreaks achieved 75-percent reduction of new cases since 2000. This reduction brings new hope of continued disease reduction and the potential for eradication, but continued and focused efforts are required.

Moreover, grassroots initiatives have eased burdens upon countries and territories most affected, but there is more work to do before it can be declared the disease is eradicated. Clean bills of health for those afflicted must persist for sustained periods of time, and new illnesses must not arise in designated areas within three months for an area to be considered free of malaria.

Globally, the report states, 3.2 billion people are still affected by malaria, meaning inroads have been made against the disease, but it is still statistically significant and a sustained threat to public health. In Africa in particular, malaria’s hold remains tight, and only continued efforts to vaccinate and educate affected populations about symptoms of the disease — as well as provide accessible and timely care — will halt the spread of malaria.

Progress, however, is the watchword of the report, and hope has risen from what was once a hopeless cause for survival. 

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