The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released a report that showed a dramatic decrease in the number of deaths caused by malaria.
Although more countries are close to eradicating the disease, health professionals said there is still much progress to be made.
The World Malaria Report 2014 said that although the population in sub-Saharan Africa has increased by 43 percent, there are still fewer diagnoses of malaria each year.
In 2000, 173 million people on the continent were diagnosed with malaria. By 2013, the number of diagnosed malaria cases had fallen to 128 million.
WHO officials attribute these positive statistics to better treatment options and preventative measures.
Bed nets treated with insecticides are more readily available to people today. Just 3 percent of sub-Saharan Africans had access to the nets in 2004. By 2013, almost half the population had access to the nets.
The WHO said 214 million more bed nets will be delivered to African countries by the end of 2014.
“We can win the fight against malaria,” Dr. Margaret Chan, director-general of the WHO, said. “We have the right tools and our defenses are working. But we still need to get those tools to a lot more people if we are to make these gains sustainable.”
WHO officials said the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has been detrimental to the fight against malaria since health care centers are overwhelmed with Ebola patients and don't have the resourses to treat people with malaria symptoms.
Yet, the WHO still anticipates eradicating malaria by 2030.
“While staying focused on the work ahead, we should note that the number of children dying from malaria today is markedly less than eight years ago,” Ray Chambers, the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy for Malaria, said. “The world can expect even greater reductions in malaria cases and mortality by the end of 2015, but any death from malaria remains simply unacceptable.”