HIV/Aids, ebola, Marburg dampen gains made in fight against malaria
Posted Saturday, December 29 2012 at 16:50
- A breakthrough in the fight against malaria — Africa’s deadliest killer — appeared close, but as the year comes to a close, lack of funding clouds this milestone.
- An estimated $5.1 billion is needed every year between 2011 and 2020 to achieve universal access to malaria interventions in the 99 countries with on-going malaria transmission.
The region has experienced breakthroughs in the fight against malaria, but has also faced setbacks with HIV/Aids prevalence rates and ebola and Marburg outbreaks.
A breakthrough in the fight against malaria — Africa’s deadliest killer — appeared close, but as the year comes to a close, lack of funding clouds this milestone. Malaria kills up to 35,000 people, especially children under the age of five, every year.
In Uganda, HIV/Aids prevalence rates are on the rise, an alarming reality that needs to be addressed urgently. The 2011 Uganda Aids Indicator Survey released in mid 2012 shows the prevalence rate is at 7.3 per cent, up from 6.4 per cent in the 2004-05 survey.
In women, the prevalence rate is at 8.1 per cent. New infections are also on the rise at 145,000 in 2011, up from 128,000 in 2010 and 124,000 in 2009, which outstrips the annual enrolment in anti-retroviral treatment two-fold.
Vinand Nantulya, the chairman of the Uganda Aids Commission, foresees a bleak 2013 with new HIV/Aids infections reaching 165,000.
The country has also suffered ebola and Marburg outbreaks and the emergence of a mysterious “nodding disease” that affected children in the Acholi sub-region, in Northern Uganda.
Researchers are however positive that in 2013 they will have better knowledge about the immune response of the ebola/Marburg vaccine on humans.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) warns that in the past two years, funding has failed to reach required levels, frustrating the search for solutions to reduce malaria-related deaths.
This is despite recent positive sentiments following the trials of a vaccine conducted in seven African countries among them Kenya and Tanzania.
The trials saw one out of every three infants who were given RTS,S — the world’s first candidate malaria vaccine — develop immunity to malaria.
RTS,S reduces malaria by approximately one–third in African infants, according to the initial results of an ongoing large-scale Phase III trial, published in the New England Journal of Medicine.