To commemorate World Malaria Day 2023, the World Health Organization has called on countries worldwide to increase the accessibility of preventive, diagnostic, and treatment tools for malaria, particularly for those who are most at risk, in order to achieve the two goals of the WHO Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016-2030: reducing global case incidence and mortality by at least 90% by 2030, relative to 2015 levels.
According to clinical statistics, an estimated 619,000 people died from malaria in 2021, a slight decrease from the 625,000 deaths in 2020. There were also 247 million new malaria cases, compared to 245 million in 2020.
Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director for South-East Asia, highlighted, "Children in the poorest households are five times more likely to contract malaria, and those whose mothers lack education and live in rural areas are at greater risk." WHO emphasizes the importance of providing preventive, diagnostic, and treatment services for malaria, especially among the most vulnerable populations, and has outlined five critical areas for action to address the issue. These include strengthening capacity at the local level, shifting power to the peripheries, ensuring adequate and sustained financing, transforming surveillance into a core malaria intervention, and accelerating high-impact innovations.
Dr. Poonam warned that the world is not on track to reach these goals, and these efforts are made all the more pressing in light of the COVID-19 crisis. She urged global leaders to join forces to combat and eradicate malaria and ultimately achieve zero new cases. She assured that "to prevent malaria and reach the Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016-2030 and Sustainable Development Goal targets, WHO is committed to providing services to all countries in the Region to eliminate malaria and ensure that no one is left behind."
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