6 African Countries Targeted For Malaria Eradication By 2020

6 African Countries Targeted For Malaria Eradication By 2020

Nine out of 10 people who died from malaria in 2015 came from sub-Saharan Africa but in countries where it is being eradicated, aid to fight the disease is decreasing as other threats like Ebola take center stage.

The World Health Organization says six African countries could be free of the mosquito-borne disease by the end of 2020, according to a WHO report published today to mark World Malaria Day.

In 2015, 214 million people suffered from malaria and 438,000 died from it — 90 percent of them in sub-Saharan Africa.

Half the world’s countries have wiped out malaria, and the World Health Organization reports a 71 percent drop in mortality for African children under 5 years, CNN reported.

But malaria is still one of the biggest killers in sub-Saharan Africa, especially in that age group, SABC reported.

Wiping out malaria in at least 10 countries by 2020 is a goal of the World Health Organization’s 2016-2030 program against malaria.

African countries targeted for malaria eradication include Algeria, Botswana, Cape Verde, Comoros, South Africa and Swaziland, according to TheNewsNigeria.

“WHO estimates that 21 countries are in a position to achieve this goal, including six countries in the African Region, where the burden of the disease is heaviest,” the Geneva-based organisation said in a statement.

Targets to eradicate malaria are likely to be missed if governments continue to cut back aid budgets, CNN reported. Countries with a good track record combating the killer disease, such as South Africa, China, Mexico and Turkey are set to see 30 percent less funding in coming years as aid money is diverted elsewhere, according to the TheLancet, CNN reported:

A possible explanation is that aid efforts and government funding are being sidetracked to more urgent health crisis, such as the 2014 Ebola epidemic or the current Zika virus emergency, which are seen as a more pressing danger to the population.

Mozambique is not on the WHO list of countries targeted for malaria eradication, but it has the highest toll for malaria-related deaths on the continent, SABC reported.

A South Africa-based group of entrepreneurs headed by Sherwin Charles started Goodbye Malaria, a public-private collaboration that aims to do malaria research, educate the public and eliminate malaria in Mozambique by 2030. Goodbye Malaria partnered with the University of Pretoria and the Mozambican government to open the Centre of Excellence in Namaache, Mozambique.

Malaria is both preventable and treatable, Charles said, according to EastCoastRadio.

South Africa recorded 11,700 cases in 2014, down from 64,000 cases in 2000. Cases in South Africa have increased in the last few years, Charles said. The population is not educated about the disease.

Most cases in South Africa are in areas bordering Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, according to WHO.

In 2015, all countries in Europe WHO region reported zero indigenous cases of malaria, compared to 90,000 cases in 1995, EastCoastRadio reported. Eight countries reporting no cases of malaria in 2014 included Argentina, Costa Rica, Iraq, Morocco, Oman, Paraguay, Sri Lanka and United Arab Emirates.

Goodbye Malaria is an initiative started by African entrepreneurs who believe that African creativity can solve one of Africa’s biggest problems. The group helps to raise funds to support on-the-ground malaria elimination programs in Mozambique, spraying houses to protect families from contracting malaria.

Although global support and guidance is essential, malaria elimination and eradication efforts will ultimately be driven at the country level and achieved in a collaborative manner, region by region, TheLancet reported.