Headline: World Falling Behind in the Fight Against Malaria as Cases Surge, Climate Change Compounds Challenges
Subheadline: World Health Organization warns of the risk of losing the battle against malaria if immediate action is not taken
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The world is failing to keep up the fight against malaria as cases surged by approximately 5 million in 2022 compared to the previous year, according to the World Health Organization’s annual World Malaria Report. The report highlights the detrimental impact of pandemic-related disruptions and extreme weather events caused by climate change on efforts to control and combat the disease. Additionally, drug and insecticide resistance, as well as conflicts, have hindered progress in fighting malaria since 2015.
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In 2022 alone, there were an estimated 249 million cases of malaria worldwide, far surpassing the target of 26.2 cases per 1,000 at-risk individuals set by the World Health Organization for 2025. The report warns that progress towards this milestone is 55% off track, and if current trends persist, it will be missed by 89% this year. Severe weather events, including floods in Pakistan, have amplified the number of malaria cases in affected areas.
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While deaths from malaria showed a steady decline between 2000 and 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a disturbing rise in fatalities. It is estimated that 608,000 people, predominantly children, lost their lives to malaria last year. This setback highlights the urgent need to address the escalating threat. However, there is hope on the horizon, with two new malaria vaccines expected to become available next year.
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The World Malaria Report also exposes a significant funding gap, necessitating approximately $7.8 billion to effectively tackle the disease. This requirement far surpasses the $4.1 billion invested in 2022. Urgent action and increased funding are paramount to prevent a resurgence of malaria and to safeguard the hard-won progress made over the past two decades.
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The battle against malaria is at a critical juncture, with the world falling behind in its fight against the disease. Efforts to control and combat malaria have been hindered by the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change-related disruptions, drug resistance, and conflicts. Immediate action is needed, along with increased funding, to overcome these challenges and prevent a resurgence of the disease.
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