By Martins Ifijeh
Roll Back Malaria (RBM) has called on governments, health bodies, private sector companies and the public to accelerate progress against malaria.
It said this was necessary since the public health issue is gradually coming back after a decade of success in pushing it back.
The Chief Executive Officer, RBM, Dr. Kesete Admasu, who made this known in a statement to mark 2018 World Malaria Day, said malaria may come back with a vengeance if nothing is decisively done now.
Admasu said; “Half the world is still threatened by malaria, an entirely preventable, treatable disease which takes a child’s life every two minutes. Worldwide action is needed to meet the 2030 target of reducing malaria cases by at least 90 per cent. We are delighted that more countries than ever, forty-four, are reporting less than 10,000 cases; however we must ensure we continue to press forward to end malaria – not only in high-burden nations but also those on track to eliminate the disease. It is our global responsibility to consign malaria to the history books.”
RBM Partnership Board Chair, Dr Winnie Mpanju-Shumbusho, on his part, said April, 2018 has seen world leaders come together to renew commitments to step up funding and speed up innovations against the disease. “It has been a truly momentous time in the fight against malaria, but the battle is not yet won. We also need citizen and community action around the world to drive momentum towards reaching global targets.
“The malaria fight is at a crossroads and we could be the generation to end the disease for good. If we don’t seize the moment now, our hard-won gains will be lost. We’re ready to beat malaria – are you?” Mpanju-Shumbusho said.
The Director General, World Health Organisation, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, says: “World Malaria Day reminds us of the challenges that remain. The declining trend in malaria cases and deaths has stalled and vital funding for malaria programmes has flat lined. If we continue along this path, we will lose the gains for which we have fought so hard.”
He called on countries and the global health community to close the critical gaps in the malaria response. “Together we must ensure that no one is left behind in accessing lifesaving services to prevent, diagnose and treat malaria.”
World Malaria Day comes on the heels of two major malaria events – the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, where UK Prime Minister Theresa May and other Commonwealth leaders made a commitment to halve malaria burden across 53 member countries by 2023 in response to the London Malaria Summit. In addition, the Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) conference in Dakar brought together scientists and researchers from across Africa to share the latest innovations in the fight against the disease.