80pc rise in malaria cases in 15 countries

Wednesday December 13 2017

Free bednets are distributed in Uasin Gishu

Free bednets are distributed in Uasin Gishu County, Kenya, where malaria killed 28 people in October. PHOTO FILE | NMG 

By CHRISTABEL LIGAMI
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Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania are among the 15 countries accounting for about 80 per cent of malaria deaths globally in 2016, says the World Malaria Report 2017.

The other countries in Africa with a high incidence of malaria cases and deaths are Ethiopia, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, South Sudan and Zambia.

In these countries, malaria cases increased from 13.5 million in 2010 to 41.5 million in 2016 although the number of malaria deaths decreased from 70,700 in 2010 to 20,800 in 2016 (a 71 per cent decrease).

Of the 46 million estimated malaria cases, with about 42 million reported as confirmed and 21,000 reported deaths in 2016, Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique accounted for more than 50 per cent.

Weak surveillance
Uganda reported a twofold increase in confirmed cases during 2015-16 compared with 2013. The report attributed the increases to inadequate vector control and climatic factors in 2015-2016 affecting Southern and East African countries.

The report says that progress in malaria control has stalled with the countries reporting more cases of malaria from the year before, but deaths are still about the same as in 2015.

This has been attributed to epidemics during the past two years, emergencies and inadequate response, inadequate funding, and weak surveillance systems.

None of these countries in Africa are on track for a 40 per cent reduction by 2020. All countries except Ethiopia, Madagascar and Zimbabwe reported a substantial increase in cases during 2015–2016.

In both East and Southern Africa, malaria funding increased from $820.3 million in 2010 to $866 million in 2016 (a 5 per cent increase).

Dr Abdisalan Noor, who leads the WHO’s Global Malaria Programme’s surveillance unit said the decline in malaria cases and deaths has stalled and the trend even reversed in some regions, over the past three years.

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