Progress in battle against malaria may be slowing down

While the last decade of strengthened malaria control worldwide saved approximately 1.1 million lives, progress in the delivery of life-saving commodities is showing signs of slowing down, according to a recent malaria report.

The World Malaria Report 2012 summarizes the information received from 99 countries related to ongoing transmission and other sources. The recently released report points to a slowdown that could reverse some of the gains made in the battle against malaria.

There was a major expansion of global funding for malaria prevention between 2004 and 2009. The funding for prevention and control leveled off between 2010 and 2012, leading to the delivery of fewer life-saving commodities.

The number of long-lasting insecticidal nets delivered to endemic sub-Saharan African countries dropped from 145 million in 2010 to an estimated 66 million in 2012. Indoor residual spraying programs stayed at 11 percent of the vulnerable population in the WHO African region between 2010 and 2011.

"During the past eight years, scaled-up malaria control helped us avert over a million deaths," Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia's president, said.
"We must maintain this momentum and do our utmost to prevent resurgences."

The report also found that international funding for malaria has hit a plateau far below the level needed to reach health-related Millennium Development Goals and that stronger malaria surveillance systems are needed to improve malaria response.