Health

Fight against malaria at crossroads, WHO observes

The WHO Strategic Advisory Group on Malaria Eradication has indicated that the world stands at a crossroads in the fight against malaria.

“As we complete our work in 2019, we recognize that the world stands at a crossroads in the fight against malaria.”

The Strategic Advisory Group on Malaria Eradication (SAGme), is a group of scientists and public health experts from around the world brought together to advise WHO on future scenarios for malaria, including whether eradication was feasible.

The group was formed in 2016, at the request of the WHO Director-General.

After a 3-year study of trends and future projections for the factors and determinants that underpin malaria, SAGme reaffirms that eradication is a goal worth pursuing, likely to save millions of lives and billions of dollars.

However, with our current tools, we are far from a malaria-free world.

In its executive summary, awaiting the full report on malaria eradication (SAGme) says there is the needs for more investment in research and development of new tools and approaches to fight malaria.

It therefore called for stronger universal health coverage that would enable everyone have access to the services they need, and better surveillance to guide a more targeted malaria response.

The report noted that despite huge progress in reducing malaria cases and deaths between 2000 and 2015, the last two years have witnessed the stalling of global progress.

“The world is not on track to meet the 2020 milestones that will lead us to lower case incidence and mortality by 90% from the 2015 level by 2030. Without massive concerted and coordinated action, we are unlikely to meet these targets.

“SAGme believes political commitment, strengthened cross-border, regional, and international cooperation to coordinate malaria control and elimination efforts worldwide.”

When these critical foundations are laid, we believe the world will be in a much stronger position to make the final and credible push for eradication”

On the potential threats to eradication the release indicated, Eradication efforts are complex undertakings, and unexpected roadblocks or deviations can threaten at each turn in the road.

A pragmatic way forward it adds is clearly needed to get the world back on track to achieving important public health goals that are on the pathway to eradication, and then to cover the last mile to eradication at that time.

Source: WHO

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