New estimates from WHO show a significant increase in the number of countries moving towards malaria elimination, with prevention efforts saving millions of dollars in healthcare costs over the past 14 years in many African countries.

Anopheles gambiae mosquito Image/CDC
Anopheles gambiae mosquito

According to the “World Malaria Report 2015”, released today, more than half (57) of the 106 countries with malaria in 2000 had achieved reductions in new malaria cases of at least 75% by 2015. In that same time frame, 18 countries reduced their malaria cases by 50-75%.

Across sub-Saharan Africa, the prevention of new cases of malaria has resulted in major cost savings for endemic countries. New estimates presented in the WHO report show that reductions in malaria cases attributable to malaria control activities saved an estimated US$ 900 million in case management costs in the region between 2001 and 2014. Insecticide-treated mosquito nets contributed the largest savings, followed by artemisinin-based combination therapies and indoor residual spraying.

“Since the start of this century, investments in malaria prevention and treatment have averted over 6 million deaths,” said Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. “We know what works. The challenge now is to do even more.”

Regional progress

For the first time since WHO began keeping score, the European Region is reporting zero indigenous cases of malaria. This achievement was made possible through strong country-level leadership, technical support from WHO and financial assistance from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Since 2000, the malaria mortality rate has declined by 85% in the South-East Asia Region, by 72% in the Region of the Americas, by 65% in the Western Pacific Region, and by 64% in the Eastern Mediterranean Region. While the African Region continues to carry the highest malaria burden, here too there have been impressive gains: over the last 15 years, malaria mortality rates fell by 66% among all age groups, and by 71% among children under five, a population particularly susceptible to the disease.

Read the entire WHO news release HERE