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29 November 2017, 09:52 | Melissa Porter
Finger-prick tests speed up diagnosis Global Warming Images REX Shutterstock
Only eight per cent of malaria cases were diagnosed past year in India, which accounted for six per cent of the 216 million new cases globally, a World Health Organization (WHO) report has said. In 2016, there were an estimated 216 million cases of malaria, an increase of about 5 million cases over 2015.
While the number of deaths remained largely similar, at 445,000, the World Health Organization said said antimalarial efforts risked going backwards with the current, insufficient level of funding.
The report stated that while the rate of new cases of malaria had fallen overall since 2014, the trend has levelled off and even reversed in some regions.
The 2017 World Malaria Report, released Wednesday in New Delhi, contains "some positive messages and findings", according to Pedro Alonso, MD, PhD, director of the agency's global malaria program.
"... The WHO director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned of a "troubling shift" in the downward trajectory of malaria, one of the biggest killers in poorer countries, and until recently, one of the greatest public health success stories".
In addition, African countries are making strides in collecting data on malaria cases and deaths. While we have made important headway, the pace of progress must be greatly accelerated if we are to reach our global malaria targets for 2020 and beyond.
The WHO Global Technical Strategy for Malaria calls for reductions of at least 40% in malaria case incidence and mortality rates by the year 2020. "But contributing factors included insufficient funding, a lack of interventions to prevent spread of the disease, risks posed by conflict in malaria endemic zones, irregular climate patterns, and the emergence of parasite resistance, the report said..."
Some of the challenges, said the report, that impeded these countries' abilities to stay on track and advance towards elimination include lack of sustainable and predictable worldwide and domestic funding, risks posed by conflict in malaria endemic zones among many others.
Since then, it has received 1500 report of cases of fake or bad drugs, 42 per cent from sub-Saharan Africa, 21 per cent from the Americas and 21 per cent from Europe. Madagascar reported the most significant decline among these countries, with 856,000 fewer cases of malaria in 2016. "According to WHO's latest malaria report, the world is not on track to reach these critical milestones", he said.
Spraying the inside walls of homes with insecticides (indoor residual spraying, IRS) is another important prevention measure. In the WHO African Region, most people who seek treatment for malaria in the public health system receive an accurate diagnosis and effective medicines.
Giving demographic details about the mosquito-borne disease, he said, "The majority of malaria cases in the country come from the bordering districts, forest and tribal areas, while most of the remaining parts of the country remain malaria free", he said.
"Robust financing for the research and development of new tools is equally critical".
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