The global number of malaria cases and deaths generally remained stable in 2021, thanks to redoubled efforts by affected countries, the WHO said.
According to the WHO’s latest World Malaria Report published on Thursday, there were an estimated 619,000 malaria deaths globally in 2021, compared to 625,000 in 2020.
Malaria cases worldwide continued to rise between 2020 and 2021, but at a slower rate than in the period 2019 to 2020. The global tally of malaria cases reached 247 million in 2021, compared to 245 million in 2020 and 232 million in 2019.
According to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, this slight increase was due to redoubled efforts by malaria-affected countries to mitigate the worst impacts of Covid-19-related disruptions to malaria services, Xinhua news agency reported.
The primary tool has been insecticide-treated nets for beds. The WHO also recommends seasonal malaria chemoprevention, to prevent the disease among children living in areas with highly seasonal malaria transmission in Africa.
Meanwhile, the report says that artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) are the most effective treatment for P. falciparum malaria. Malaria-endemic countries delivered an estimated 242 million ACTs worldwide in 2021, compared to 239 million ACTs in 2019.
The challenges have remained in Africa, which had about 95 per cent of malaria cases and 96 per cent of deaths globally in 2021, said the report.