Updated on 29 April 2014
With emergence of increasing parasite resistance to drugs & insecticide, malaria poses a serious threat to public health in the region
Singapore: Three out of four people are at risk of malaria in WHO's South-East Asia Region, which is home to a quarter of the world's population. Even though the number of confirmed malaria cases in the Region decreased from 2.9 million in 2000 to 2 million in 2012, the disease remains a significant threat to the lives and livelihoods of people.
Ahead of World Malaria Day (25th April), the WHO has urged for more investment towards malaria control and elimination programs. With emergence of increasing parasite resistance to drugs & insecticide, malaria poses a serious threat to public health in the region.
"1.4 billion People continue to be at risk of malaria in South-East Asia. They are often the poorest, including workers in hilly or forested areas, in development projects such as mining, agroforestry, road and dam constructions, and upland subsistence farming in rural areas and urban areas," said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia. "We must continue surveillance for malaria. Funding needs to be increased for diagnostics, drugs, insecticide-treated mosquito nets, and research and response to drug and insecticide resistance. We need to empower communities to protect themselves. Eliminating malaria will take greater political will."
Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Nepal, and Sri Lanka reduced the incidence of malaria cases by more than 75% from 2000 to 2012. Thailand and Timor-Leste are on track to achieve a decrease of over 75%. India is expected to decrease malaria case incidence by 50-75 percent by 2015. Sri Lanka is in the elimination phase; the country has had no indigenous cases since November 2012, down from 203 000 cases in 2000. Maldives has been malaria-free since 1984.
Global efforts to control and eliminate malaria have saved an estimated 3.3 million lives. Between 2000 and 2012, malaria mortality rates have been reduced by 42 percent and the incidence of malaria has decreased by 25 percent globally.