Halving of malaria deaths ‘tremendous achievement’

Global efforts have halved the number of people dying from malaria – a tremendous achievement. Between 2001 and 2013, 4.3 million deaths were averted, 3.9 million of which were children under the age of five in sub-Saharan Africa. Each year, more people are being reached with life-saving malaria interventions, the WHO says.
In 2004, 3% of those at risk had access to mosquito nets, but now 50% do. There has been a scaling up of diagnostic testing, and more people now are able to receive medicines to treat the parasitic infection, which is spread by the bites of infected mosquitoes.
An increasing number of countries are moving towards malaria elimination. In 2013, two countries – Azerbaijan and Sri Lanka – reported zero indigenous cases for the first time, and 11 others (Argentina, Armenia, Egypt, Georgia, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Oman, Paraguay, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) succeeded in maintaining zero cases.
In Africa, where 90% of all malaria deaths occur, infections have decreased significantly. Here, the number of people infected has fallen by a quarter – from 173 million in 2000 to 128 million in 2013. This is despite a 43% increase in the African population living in malaria transmission areas.