3.2 billion people at risk of Malaria, warns WHO

Malaria killed about 453,000 children under 5 in 2013; 90 percent of deaths occur in Africa, says WHO

Malaria killed about 453,000 children under 5 in 2013; 90 percent of deaths occur in Africa, says WHO

GENEVA - An estimated 3.2 billion people are at risk of being infected with malaria -- 1.2 billion are at high risk, according World Health Organization's 2014 report. 

Of those who died from the disease, 430,000 were African children. Malaria killed about 453,000 children under five. About 548,000 people were killed by the disease in 2013.

The disease was present in at least 97 countries and territories in 2014.

There were an estimated 198 million cases of malaria in 2013.

The report says that 90 percent of all malaria deaths occur in Africa. 

- Ebola outbreak had devastating impact on malaria treatment

The deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa has had a devastating impact on malaria treatment and the roll-out of malaria interventions, the report said. 

In the most affected countries; Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, the majority of inpatient health facilities remain closed. 

These three countries saw an estimated 6.6 million malaria cases and 20,000 malaria deaths in 2013, according to the report. 

- Progress in reducing death rates

But there has been some progress. Over the past 13 years, malaria cases have declined and death rates decreased by about 47 percent worldwide, and by 54 percent in Africa.

The number of people infected with malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. declined to 128 million in 2013 from 173 million in 2000.  

“We can win the fight against malaria,” said WHO Director-General Margaret Chan in a written statement.

“We have the right tools and our defenses are working. But we still need to get those tools to a lot more people if we are to make these gains sustainable.”

About half of all people at risk of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa had access to an insecticide-treated net in 2013, and a record 214 million bed nets are scheduled for delivery to countries in Africa by year-end, says the report. 

- Moving towards elimination

An increasing number of countries are moving towards malaria elimination with Asia-Pacific targeting to end the disease by 2030.

In 2013, Azerbaijan and Sri Lanka reported zero cases for the first time, and 11 countries succeeded in maintaining zero cases. 

About $ 5.1 billion is required to eliminate malaria globally, according to the report.

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