Updated on 16 December 2013
Absolute numbers of malaria cases and deaths are not going down as fast as they could
Singapore: Global efforts to control and eliminate malaria have saved an estimated 3.3 million lives since 2000, reducing malaria mortality rates by 45 percent globally and by 49 percent in Africa, according to the "World malaria report 2013" published by the World Health Organization (WHO).
An expansion of prevention and control measures has been mirrored by a consistent decline in malaria deaths and illness, despite an increase in the global population at risk of malaria between 2000 and 2012. Increased political commitment and expanded funding have helped to reduce incidence of malaria by 29 percent globally, and by 31 percent in Africa.
The large majority of the 3.3 million lives saved between 2000 and 2012 were in the 10 countries with the highest malaria burden, and among children aged less than five years, which is the group most affected by the disease. Over the same period, malaria mortality rates in children in Africa were reduced by an estimated 54 percent.
"This remarkable progress is no cause for complacency. Absolute numbers of malaria cases and deaths are not going down as fast as they could," says Dr Margaret Chan, director general, WHO. "The fact that so many people are infected and dying from mosquito bites is one of the greatest tragedies of the 21st century."
In 2012, there were an estimated 207 million cases of malaria (uncertainty interval: 135-to-287 million), which caused approximately 627 000 malaria deaths (uncertainty interval 473 000-to-789 000). An estimated 3.4 billion people continue to be at risk of malaria, mostly in Africa and South East Asia. Around 80 percent of malaria cases occur in Africa.