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47 African countries adopt plan to fight malaria

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UNITED NATIONS New York (Xinhua) 

All 47 African member states of the World Health Organization (WHO) adopted a new framework on how to deal with malaria on the continent, which still accounts for more than 90 percent of global malaria deaths in 2015, a UN spokesman told reporters here Monday.

“They agreed on specific interventions and actions to reach the goal of a malaria-free Africa,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said at a daily news briefing.

Although previous programs have reduced malaria deaths in Africa by 66 percent since the year 2000, the continent still bears the biggest malaria burden, Dujarric said.

The disease struck 190 million people on the continent in 2015 alone, and caused 400,000 deaths, he added.  

In addition, more than 800 million people in Africa are still at risk of malaria. In line with the Sustainable Development Goals, WHO reassures a firm commitment to eliminate the epidemic from the African continent by 2030, a target that would require an estimated 66 billion U.S. dollars to achieve.

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Some of the main challenges to tackle malaria include gaps in access to available prevention methods, the limited number of interventions available and increasing resistance to medicines and insecticides.

At the same time, weak health systems present a very high risk to malaria control and elimination. During the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa, malaria control gains were lost in the severely affected countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

As published on IOL

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