By Lorena Cabrera, Humanitas Global
Over the past decade, there have been significant achievements in the fight toward eradicating malaria. However, preserving those efforts take just as much, if not more effort. Globally, there are about 198 million cases of Malaria a year. Tragically, over 600,000 of those who contract malaria die annually, and 78% of the deaths are children under five. Over half of the world population is currently at risk of getting malaria; however, there doesn’t seem to be enough funding to eliminate this disease once and for all.
To increase awareness and in hopes of reducing these funding gaps, the World Malaria Day organization has declared April 25 as an international observance day. This day provides a platform for countries and organization to share and unify their efforts towards the total elimination of malaria.
Here are some key points to understand what’s happening in the world related to malaria:
- Direct cost of Malaria is USD 12 billion per year in direct losses, lost 1.3% of GDP growth per year for Africa
- In 2013, international and domestic funding for malaria was less than half of what is needed.
- An estimated 4.2 million lives were saved as a result of a scale-up of malaria interventions just in the years of 2013-2014.
- Malaria mosquito’s transmitters and parasite are developing resistance to the drugs that are currently available.
From 2013 to 2015, World Malaria Day has focused around the theme “Invest in the Future. Defeat malaria.” as a call to action to raise funds to eradicate and meet critical funding gaps. Despite substantial malaria intervention coverage, it is estimated that 56 million out of 69 million children with malaria didn’t receive any treatment. Poverty and lack of education are the most common factors between those who are lacking access to treatment from those who do have access. Bridging this gap must be a primary goal and can only be done through increased funding. Although malaria’s effects and numbers of affected people are devastating, there is hope.