World Malaria Day: WHO Calls For Focus On Preventive Measures

The World Health Organisation has call for increased efforts to prevent malaria and save lives.

The global health body made the call in a statement on Monday ahead of the World Malaria Day.

According to WHO’s latest report, which spotlights critical gaps in prevention coverage – particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, an estimated 43 per cent of people at risk of malaria in the region were not protected by either a net or indoor insecticide spraying in 2015.

It also said approximately 69 per cent of pregnant women in 20 African countries did not have access to the recommended three or more doses of preventive treatment.

WHO explained in its statement that while preventive measures, including the use of insecticide-treated nets have averted more than 663 million cases of Malaria in sub-Saharan Africa since 2001, there was the need for a bigger push for prevention.

The Director-General of WHO, Dr. Margaret Chan, was quoted as saying, “WHO-recommended tools have made a measurable difference in the global malaria fight. But we need a much bigger push for prevention – especially in Africa, which bears the greatest burden of malaria.”

Together with diagnosis and treatment, the statement said, WHO recommends a package of proven prevention approaches, including insecticide treated nets, spraying indoor walls with insecticides, and preventive medicines for the most vulnerable groups: pregnant women, under-fives and infants.

Explaining the challenge further, WHO said it wasn’t really a problem of policy but that of policy implementation.

It noted that some targeted prevention approaches have been adopted by countries as policy, but the actual uptake has been slow.

It said preventive treatment for infants, for example, which is safe, cost-effective and well accepted by health workers and communities, is currently only being implemented in Sierra Leone.

WHO made the call for accelerated scale-up of efforts to prevent malaria and save lives the same day it announced that the trial of the world’s first vaccine would take place in three African countries.

READ MORE: WHO Announces World’s First Malaria Vaccine Trial

Source: Channels Tv

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