The world malaria day is observed on 25th April and this year’s theme was to Eliminate Malaria Completely. Malaria is a disease that ravages most countries and to them each day is a world malaria day since they have to keep fighting off the disease daily. This year the theme provided a platform where all countries can showcase their progress in the fight against malaria. Despite the gains made by most countries prone to malaria in the last decade, maintaining the same path until malaria is fully eliminated will require a lot of dedication in effort and resources.
Across Africa, there is a momentum that has been felt in preventing, diagnosing and treating the deadly malaria disease. However this progress is facing a challenge due to lack of enough funding which could slow down this fight against malaria. This is an issue if not addressed and the endemic African countries allowed resources in technical support and funding sectors, there stands a risk to the disease sprouting further instead of dissipating and this can possibly lead to more loss of lives. With this in mind, the world malaria day 2016 calls for an elimination of malaria completely and thus the theme ‘End Malaria for Good’.
Success in Eliminating Malaria
Today marks one year after the World Health Assembly made a resolution towards eliminating malaria from 35 countries by the year 2030. According to the report released by WHO, it shows that this goal is achievable despite its ambitious nature. In 2015 WHO European region reported zero cases of malaria from 90,000 cases in the year 1995. Another 8 countries outside the European region had reported zero cases in 2014(Costa Rica, Iraq, Oman, Sri Lanka, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Argentina).
In the same year, another 8 countries reported less than 100 cases, whereas 100 to 1000 cases were reported in another 12 countries of indigenous malaria countries. This figures show that a complete elimination of malaria is achievable and on its cause following the progress achieved under the MDGs and building on this success will realize this noble cause.
The impact on achieving the world malaria day theme ‘end malaria for good’
- In the past 15 years, strong partnerships and smart investments lead to a progressive and successful fight against malaria. This has been seen from the great collaboration fostered by donors, organizations, endemic countries and the communities in getting the means to the people in terms of treatment, diagnosis and effective tools for fighting malaria. This has led to a decrease in malaria infections by 60 percent and thus malaria is no longer the number one children killer in Africa. Leaders in Africa and Asia have pledged to commit to the fight against removing malaria from our midst for good.
- Improving maternal care and child health and ending poverty are all tied to eliminating malaria. This is proved by the fact that in sub-Saharan Africa, 20 percent of the reduced child mortality rate is tied to malaria prevention and treatment. Further to this, preventing infections of malaria during pregnancy has reduced newborn deaths by 94,000 between 2009 and 2012. Reduced malaria cases will translate to more school attendees, and wok which will further mean more productive societies that lead to stronger economies. This means that a complete elimination of malaria is paramount to achieving the 2030 MDGs.
- Achieving the 2016 malaria day theme will require a sustained financial investment, innovations and political good will. Thus, a continued effort in developing new strategies together with solutions which involve newer drugs, diagnostic formulas and vaccines. This drive would ensure that drug and insecticide resistance is mitigated therefore cutting down accelerated cross border transmission. This would also foster broader healthy security issues which would speed up the achievement of the MDGs. To this end, consistent funding is needed to eliminate malaria for good, although it is notable that funding has been increasing significantly since 2005 to 2015 from both international and domestic quarters. This far, the fight against malaria should not be lost due to funding and a resurgence seen like seen in the last century as a result of funding.
Future generations will have a safer place to live in and reach their full potential if malaria is eliminated. Therefore return on investment in regard to fighting malaria can viewed to be high. Thus the goal is to end malaria at least in 10 countries by 2020.