"We Can Win"

WHO’s World Malaria Report 2014

Shows Malaria Cases Steadily Declining

Fifteen years ago, the United Nations adopted the Millennium Development Goals — which have been called “the most successful global anti-poverty push in history.” The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) include halving extreme poverty rates, halting the spread of HIV/AIDS, providing universal primary education, and more — all by the target date of 2015.

Goal Number 6 included a series of measures related to combating HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases. Target 6.C was defined as an effort to halt, by 2015, and begin to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases.

How has the world done on this measure?

According to the United Nations:

  • Between 2000 and 2013, the substantial expansion of malaria interventions led to a 47 per cent decline in malaria mortality rates globally. 

  • In the decade since 2000, 3.3 million deaths from malaria were averted, and the lives of three million young children were saved. 

  • Thanks to increased funding, more children are sleeping under insecticide-treated bed nets in sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Treatment for tuberculosis has saved some 22 million lives between 1995 and 2012.

“We can win the fight against malaria,” says Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO). “We have the right tools and our defences are working. But we still need to get those tools to a lot more people if we are to make these gains sustainable.”

According to WHO (a specialized agency of the United Nations), malaria cases are steadily declining around the world. In the African region, where about 90% of malaria deaths occur, the malaria mortality rate decreased by 54%. So, despite a 43% population increase in sub-Saharan Africa, fewer people are infected or carry asymptomatic malaria infections every year.

How has this progress been achieved?

Between 2000 and 2013, access to insecticide-treated bed nets increased substantially. In 2013, almost half of all people at risk of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa had access to an insecticide-treated net, a marked increase from just 3% in 2004. And this trend is set to continue, with a record 214 million bed nets scheduled for delivery to endemic countries in Africa by year-end.

Additionally, access to accurate malaria diagnostic testing and effective treatment has significantly improved worldwide.

There is now an optimistic public conversation about eradicating malaria entirely by the year 2030.

For example, the recent East Asia Summit recently concluded with a declaration calling for the elimination of malaria from the Asia-Pacific region within the next 15 years. And, a just-published report by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recommends that the world’s new development goals should include efforts to:

“End preventable maternal, new-born and child deaths and malnutrition; ensure the availability of essential medicines; realize women’s reproductive health and rights; ensure immunization coverage; eradicate malaria and realize the vision of a future free of AIDS and tuberculosis….”

(See, “The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet”)

Taken together, the MDG’s have galvanized unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest. The UN’s new development goals, for the period 2015 through 2030, will undoubtedly call for a continuing commitment to the health and well-being of all of the world’s people.

As members of the United Nations Association of the USA, we are proud to support these efforts.

In 2014, thanks to the generosity of our members and friends, we raised over $700 for Nothing But Nets — a campaign of the United Nations Foundation. Nothing But Nets provides bed nets to people in sub-Saharan Africa who are at the greatest risk of contracting malaria.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), malaria killed an estimated 482,000 children under five years of age in 2011. Malaria is an entirely preventable and treatable mosquito-borne illness. In 2013, according to WHO, 97 countries had ongoing malaria transmission.

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