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Improvements In Malaria Control Evident In Africa But Global Efforts Still Lacking, Says WHO Report

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There is great progress in malarial intervention and control in sub-Saharan Africa whereas it isn't as good in the rest of the world, reports the World Malaria Report 2016.

Malaria Control In Sub-Saharan Africa

According to the report released by the World Health Organization on Dec. 13, pregnant women and children in sub-Saharan Africa have good access to malarial intervention and that access to diagnostic testing in children is on the rise over the past five years.

Malarial treatment provided for pregnant women over the period is said to have gained great results. The use of insecticide-treated nets has increased in the region and is observed to have been fruitful in mosquito control.

However, there is a lag in malaria control measures in a number of countries in Africa, which is attributed to insufficient funding and weak healthcare systems. The global target of malaria control by 2020 appears unattainable, claims the report.

Malarial Intervention Methods In Africa

African countries harbored 90 percent of the world's malarial cases and reported 92 percent of malaria-related mortalities in 2015. Notably, 70 percent of mortalities were reported in children aged five and below.

It was also noted that diagnostic testing had helped about 51 percent of children who visited public health facilities to get diagnosed and treated for malaria in 2015. The rate is high when compared with five years ago as only 29 percent of children from 22 African countries received diagnostic testing in 2010.

In addition, pregnant women at moderate to high risk of malarial infection were also recommended for "intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy (IPTp)" by the WHO. The treatment includes administration of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine to women after the first trimester.

The treatment is aimed at protecting the mother and the fetus from malarial infection, anemia caused as a result of malaria and other malaria-related health outcomes. As per records, women receiving IPTp has increased five-fold in the last five years, as data shows a jump from 6 to 31 percent between 2010 and 2015.

About 53 percent of people from sub-Saharan Africa who are at risk of malarial infection were reported to have slept under insecticide-treated nets in 2015 as opposed to 30 percent in 2010.

Global Target Of Malarial Control Likely Unattainable

"We are definitely seeing progress," noted Dr. Pedro Alonso, WHO Global Malaria Programme's director, in a press release. "But the world is still struggling to achieve the high levels of programme coverage that are needed to beat this disease."

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