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article imageWHO aims to wipe out malaria within two decades

By Tim Sandle     May 3, 2016 in Health
Geneva - The World health Organization (WHO) is aiming to eliminate malaria from the planet by 2030. The United Nations health agency thinks that this feat is achievable, provided resources are provided by world governments.
The WHO declaration was made on the recent World Malaria Day (April 25, 2016.) The goal is to eliminate malaria in at least 35 countries by 2030.
Malaria is caused by a single-celled parasite of the genus Plasmodium. This animal parasite is transmitted by mosquitoes in territories in over 100 countries. Mosquitoes spread the parasite to humans through their bites. On entering the blood, the parasite travels to the liver, where it matures and reproduces in forms that infect the red cells and cause clinical symptoms.
The reason why WHO is confident that the goal can be achieved is because of current trends and global success stories. For example, by 2015 all countries in the European region reported zero cases of malaria (a drop from some 90,000 recorded cases in 1995.) Other nations have also been declared malaria free. These are: Argentina, Costa Rica, Iraq, Morocco, Oman, Paraguay, Sri Lanka, and United Arab Emirates. In addition to these, a further eight countries have recorded below 100 indigenous malaria cases; and a further 12 countries have seen only between 100 and 1000 malaria cases.
Today there are 57 countries in the world with reducing incidences of malaria. However, it remains that millions of people remain at risk from the parasitic disease. In 2015, there were some 400,000 deaths from malaria, from a total of 214 million estimated cases.
Commenting on the stated aim, Pedro Alonso, who is the director of the WHO Global Malaria Program, told Pharmaceutical Processing: “Our report shines a spotlight on countries that are well on their way to eliminating malaria.” He then added: “WHO commends these countries while also highlighting the urgent need for greater investment in settings with high rates of malaria transmission, particularly in Africa. Saving lives must be our first priority.”
To achieve the goals the primary issue is dealing with the main vector of the disease — mosquitoes. Once concern is with the insects showing resistance to pesticides, and here new chemical compounds are needed. Other methods are being explored, such as clearing swamps and using better netting. Advances can potentially be made with new technologies; however, government and industry investment will be needed.
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