The malaria disease is a widespread endemic that is caused by the spread of minatory parasites from mosquitos to humans through infectious mosquito bites. It is the specter of death for the developing world, with an estimated 3.5 billion people living in the poorest countries at risk of being infected. This leads to about 198 malaria related cases. In 2012, there were approximately 207 million cases and 627,000 malaria deaths. In 2013, 90%, or 528,000 of all malaria deaths occurred in the World Health Organization (WHO) African region, mostly among children under 5 years old.
Though these numbers are sepulchral, they show a huge overall improvement in malaria prevention and treatment. According to WHO, 4.3 million deaths have been averted since 2001 and 2013. To put this in perspective, deaths from malaria have halved since 2001.
The improvements in malaria treatment are the result of WHO programs such as vector control interventions and insecticide resistance, which act as countervailing forces. These programs are administered thanks to the millennial development goal 6C, in an effort to stop and reverse malaria infections. So far, the programs are proving successful, with a large track record of salubrious reductions.
The vector program methods include, Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) and Long-Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs). These are the two core, wide-reaching WHO vector control measures. WHO advises that poor, at risk countries protect all persons through LLINs, IRS, or a combination of the two.
IRS stops mosquitoes from entering houses, and subsequently reduces malaria infection. The method is to spray insecticide on indoor surfaces where malaria insects will harbor. In order for the process to work effectively, houses are sprayed in large quantities once or twice a year. Thanks to the procedure, IRS protects an estimated 5% of the global population at risk.
Long lasting insecticidal nets provide a physical barrier and chemical solution that helps prevent Mosquitos from entering the bed. Communal use of the nets prevent malaria on a larger scale. According to WHO, between 2000 and 2012, the proportion of households that own at least one bed net in sub-Saharan Africa increased from 3% to 53.
Other prevention methods include, diagnostic testing and treatment with quality-assured anti-malarial medicines; preventive therapies for infants, children and pregnant women; tracking every malaria case in a surveillance system; and updating the fight against emerging drug and insecticidal resistance.
The increased prevention and control measures are leading to a reduction in malaria mortality rates by 47% globally since 2000, and 54% in the WHO African region. These improvements show beneficial results in Azerbaijan and Sri Lanka, where there are zero indigenous cases reported in 2013 for the first time.