WASHINGTON – The fight against malaria has saved 3.3 million lives worldwide since 2000, but the mosquito-borne disease still killed 627,000 people last year, mainly children in Africa, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.
Shortages of funding and basic remedies, such as bed nets, mean that malaria is still a major threat, particularly in Africa and Southeast Asia, according to the WHO’s Malaria Report 2013.
A surge in global funding over the past decade has led to great strides against malaria, but even levels as high as $2.5 billion in 2012 are still only half of what is needed to make sure everyone at risk of the disease has access to interventions, the WHO report said.
In 2012, there were an estimated 207 million cases of malaria, causing some 627,000 deaths.
An estimated 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria worldwide, with 80 percent of cases occurring in Africa.
Tangible progress has been seen in over half of the 103 countries with ongoing malaria transmission, with decreases in the incidence rate since 2000, said the report. Death rates worldwide fell by 45 percent between 2000 and 2012 in all age groups, and by 51 percent in children under 5.