The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 839,000 people died of malaria in 2000, but this rate dropped to 438,000 in 2015 – signaling the world is defeating malaria and more people are getting to live on account of this victory - according to a Reuters report.
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But this global near-elimination of malaria is not without the three-pronged approach of using treated bednets, indoor and outdoor spraying, and use of antimalarial drugs. These approaches have helped world governments to save millions of dollars in healthcare costs in Africa and India among other worse-hit malaria countries.
To this end, the rate of malaria deaths globally fell by 66% since 2000, and dropped by 71% in children under the age of 5.
"In sub-Saharan Africa, more than half of the population is now sleeping under insecticide-treated mosquito nets, compared to just 2 percent in 2000," said Margaret Chan, WHO’s director-general on Tuesday. "A rapid expansion in diagnostic testing, and in the availability of antimalarial medicines, has allowed many more people to access timely and appropriate treatment."
Nigeria and Congo are responsible for up to 35% of worldwide malaria deaths this year; even though WHO calculates that concerted efforts have led to 663 million malaria infections being averted in Africa since 2001.
Sleeping under insecticide-treated mosquito nets, spraying indoors with mosquito sprays, and using artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACTs) among other effective antimalarial medications have been of utmost help in seeing the end of malaria in many countries around the world.
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But "In many countries, progress is threatened by the rapid development and spread of mosquito resistance to insecticides. Drug resistance could also jeopardize recent gains in malaria control," said Pedro Alonso, director of the WHO's global malaria program, noting that new challenges are springing up with the defeat of malaria in sight.