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More funds needed to tackle malaria: WHO
New Delhi, Apr 23 (IANS)
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Published on 23 Apr. 2010 11:03 PM IST
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Malaria, which poses a risk to 77 percent of the South-East Asian population and claims thousands of lives each year, needs more commitment and greater funds for successful interventions from donors and states, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said Friday.
Calling it a disease without borders, Samlee Plianbangchang, WHO regional director for South-East Asia said in a statement: “Increasing funding for effective interventions could significantly reduce malaria deaths in many countries”.
“In WHO’s South-East Asia Region, several countries have made good progress and demonstrated that support for malaria control is working,” he said ahead of World Malaria Day April 25.
For instance, Sri Lanka and South Korea have both reached the elimination stage in malaria. Bhutan has also made good progress and is now aiming towards malaria elimination. Reported malaria deaths have decreased significantly in Bangladesh, Thailand and Myanmar with improved case management, the statement said.
“Nevertheless, malaria is endemic in all the countries in the South-East Asian region, except the Republic of Maldives, and the situation is becoming increasingly difficult to control due to several technical and managerial problems,” Plianbangchang added.
Said Jai P. Narain, director, communicable diseases, WHO: “Repeated focal epidemics are common due to socio-environmental changes. Many cases are due to population migration. There is no doubt that malaria adversely affects economic development, particularly the livelihood of the poor.”
“It is well understood that to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) we have to reduce the impact of malaria significantly. But to do so, we need to address the social, economic, environmental and behavioural factors that contribute to the disease’s occurrence and its impact,” he added.
Plianbangchang said: “World Malaria Day is an opportunity to remind the world that though progress has been made in malaria control, this ancient disease remains a threat to humanity. It is time to increase our effort and work together to vanquish malaria once and for all.”
According to WHO, there are approximately 2.5 million confirmed malaria cases reported annually, but the actual figures are much higher. Estimates are that there are at least 20-30 million cases and 100,000 deaths each year.

 
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