, , ,

Fighting Malaria by 2030

An individual wakes up to a fever, chills, headache, sweats, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting: all of these symptoms appearing in cycles every 48 or 72 hours, depending on the exact parasite ailing the individual.

In more serious cases, add dry coughs, muscle or back pain, or even both, and an enlarged spleen. Some individuals may even suffer from impaired brain function, seizures, or loss of consciousness.

This is the reality of malaria.

In the year 2000, the infection rate of malaria was so severe that professionals estimated a total of 262 million individuals were infected with this illness. On top of that large number, it is estimated that malaria was responsible for approximately 839,000 deaths.

With numbers that high, it quickly became a global priority. Within the Millennial Development Goals (MDG), the UN targeted to have “halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases.”

While the population at risk of malaria continued to grow, the rate of incidence decreased by 37 percent and the death rate by 60 percent since 2000.

To these statistics, the UN malaria progress report stated that, “it is evident that MDG Target 6C (to have halted and begun to reverse the incidence of malaria) has been met convincingly.”

With such a high level of success taking place, it is clear that prevention and treatment methods are working effectively. This being the case, the fight for continued reduction and eradication of the illness is necessary.

The UN News Centre has shared that, “some countries carry a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden. Fifteen countries, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, accounted for 80 percent of malaria cases and 78 percent of deaths globally in 2015.”

With these countries in mind, two new documents have been developed to further combat malaria by 2030: the Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016-2030 and the action and Investment to Defeat Malaria 2016-2030.

The targets and goals outlined in these two documents are to provide malaria prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, accelerate elimination efforts, and to transform “surveillance into a core intervention.”

With these plans mapped out, the UN has also estimated the total amount of funds necessary to accomplish this goal. This number comes out to $6.4 billion by 2020, $7.7 billion by 2025, and $8.7 USD billion by 2030.

While the numbers are high, the UN has declared that, “If these resources can be secured…malaria will become a thing of the past for many populations in the world.”

With all of the progress that has been made up to this point, 3.2 billion people within 97 different countries and territories are still at risk of the malaria infection.

If malaria could be completely eliminated by 2030, why stop now?

Katherine Martin

Sources: UN, UNICEF, WebMD, WHO
Photo: The Oslo Times