GENEVA, 25th April, 2022 (WAM) — Malaria remains a significant public health and development challenge and in the last year, about 95% of the estimated 228 million cases occurred in the WHO/AFRO Region, along with 602 020 reported deaths.
”Six of our countries, the worst-impacted by malaria in the Region, are reported to have accounted for up to 55% of cases globally, and for 50% of these deaths,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s Regional Director for Africa, on Monday in her message to commemorate this year’s World Malaria Day tagged ‘Harness innovation to reduce the malaria disease burden and save lives’. This year’s theme aligns with my call to urgently scale up innovation and the deployment of new tools in the fight against malaria, while advocating for equitable access to malaria prevention and treatment, within the context of building health system resilience.
”The past year has seen significant breakthroughs in malaria prevention and control, in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic. Landmark recommendations on the use of the first vaccine against malaria – RTS,S – were released by the World Health Organization late last year. This vaccine will be used to prevent malaria among children aged six months to five years, who live in moderate- to high-transmission settings, Dr Moeti said.
”While this is a groundbreaking advance in the development of new tools to fight this disease, with the potential to save millions of lives, supplies are currently limited. As such, it is important to ensure that the doses that are available are utilized for maximum impact, while ensuring continued availability of other preventive measures to those most at risk.” ”The ultimate goal is to reduce the number of people catching and dying from malaria. This requires a focus on research and on leveraging available evidence to ensure that our targeted interventions are an efficient use of resources, which produce measurable results,” she added.
”We also need to work on drug and insecticide resistance, as well as focus on new strains of malaria arising in the Region, which are more difficult to detect, and treat.
”World Malaria Day today is an occasion to renew political commitment and encourage continued investment in malaria prevention and control. I call on countries and communities affected by malaria to work closely with development partners to advance our countries along the road to elimination, while contributing to the achievement of other Sustainable Development Goals.
”I personally, and the WHO Regional Office in Africa, remain fully committed to the fight against malaria. I believe we can overcome the challenge if we collaborate closely with governments, partners and communities. Together, we can accelerate our efforts to achieve a malaria-free Africa.” World Malaria Day is marked annually on 25 April to focus global attention on malaria, and its devastating impact on families, communities and societal development, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.