Every two minutes, malaria kills a child under the age of five: we finally have evidence that it can be ended
"For too long, eradicating malaria has been a distant dream, but we now have evidence that malaria can and should be eradicated by 2050," explained Richard Feachem, co-chair of the Lancet Commission on Malaria Eradication, at submitting your latest report.
And with the "distant dream" I was not exaggerating: every two minutes, a child under the age of five dies from malaria. In 2016, there were 285,000 children. And although we have improved a lot since 440,000 in 2010, countries like Burundi have 50% of their population infected. Are we seriously on the way to eradicating one of the most devastating diseases today?
A Roadmap against Malaria
Rohan Reddy Z
The data, according to the work published in Lancet, indicate that it is possible, and not because it is simple, nor because the trend is in favor. The truth is that, as global temperatures rise and rainfall increases in many areas, malaria cases will tend to increase in areas where it is currently disappeared.
But the researchers point out that if we hold down the accelerator on three fundamental legs, the next 30 years will be the last of malaria. And that is what is interesting, what is truly newsworthy about the Lancet commission's report: these are things that we are already doing.
How to eradicate malaria in three "comfortable" steps
People: The first set of strategies focuses on the evidence that one of the biggest problems we have is that malaria is very difficult to manage. What we find is that many countries have immense economically depressed rural areas where disease management becomes impossible.
It should not be forgotten that the distribution of mosquito nets alone has saved 6.8 million lives in recent years and the main problem for their distribution has been the training of the administration, the lack of data on malaria and the very limited training of local communities. Only focusing on the latter is a key element in the roadmap.
Technology: The second set of strategies recognizes that we need better tools to overcome biological, economic and social obstacles to eradication. That includes better rapid diagnostic methods, longer lasting insecticides, new medications; but also genetic modification techniques on mosquitoes to control populations and stop outbreaks. This is key because the Plasmodium it is always developing resistance to the drugs we use today for it.
Money: And of course the third leg of the fight against malaria is money. The report estimates that about $ 6 billion is needed annually to eradicate Malaria in the coming decades. That's about 2 billion more than what we spend right now. It's not too much if we look at it globally, but the problem is financially securing control strategies that only work in the long term.