Wednesday, April 7, 2010

World Health Day

This year the WHO's (World Health Organization) World Health Day focuses on urban health, campaigning in 1000 cities and collecting personal stories from 1000 individuals involved in urban health. Infectious Bite encourages you to read more about World Health Day 2010 and urban health and to get involved in your city's campaign for Global Health.

In 1960, the focus of the World Health Day initiative was "Malaria eradication -- a world challenge". For Infectious Bite, World Health Day 2010 marks the fifty-year anniversary of the malaria eradication challenge posed by the World Health Organization.

This Was Then:
According to The Hindu's (India's National Newspaper) publication from 7 April 1960, in "over ninety countries anti-malarial operations are in progress. In many countries a remarkable decrease in the incidence of this enervating disease, which in past ages has caused the collapse of kingdoms, has been registered. But the World Health Organisation has recorded the fact that 'there are still fifty-six countries where no effort has yet been made to subdue in malaria monster'. In India much progress has been made and large areas freed of this menace. . . .(Mosquitoes, however, still continue to flourish: Madras, for instance, had an unusually large number of them last cool season and they still seem to be with us)."

This Is Now:

Global efforts toward malaria eradication are underway, but each year lives are still lost. Estimates report that 800,000-1 million deaths occur each year due to malaria. According to the 2009 World Malaria Report, "tremendous increase in funding for malaria control is resulting in the rapid scale up of today's control tools. This, in turn, is having a profound effect on health -- especially the health of children in sub-Saharan Africa. In a nutshell, development aid for health is working" (7). The report also calls for continued action. "We can save millions of lives over the coming years by scaling up the malaria control tools that we already have available. However, we know that the malaria parasite is a formidable opponent, and that if we are to ultimately eradicate malaria, we need new tools. The unprecedented recent spending on the research and development of these tools, including a vaccine against malaria, is a critical component of the long-term strategy against malaria" (7).

Showing Progress [Quoted from the 2009 World Malaria Report]
*International funding commitments for malaria control have increased from around US$0.3billion in 2003 to US$1.7 billion in 2009 due largely to the emergence of the Global Fund and greater commitments of the US President's Malaria Initiative, the World Bank and other agencies

*An increased percentage of African households (31%) are estimated to own at least one insecticide-treated net

*Use of artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) has increased. . . but remains very low in most African countries . . . well-below the WHA target of 80%

* More than one-third of the 108 malarious countries (9 African countries and 29 outside of Africa) documented reductions in malaria cases of > 50% in 2008 compared to 2000

*Ten countries are implementing nationwide elimination programmes of which six entered the elimination phase in 2009

Donations to the Global Fund sponsor malaria relief efforts. Since its creation, the Global Fund estimates that 5 million lives have been saved from Malaria, TB, and AIDS. Read more about the Global Fund.

Malaria is an ancient disease. It will not disappear easily, but in recent years, the world is making progress toward complete malaria eradication. With your help, your donations, and your awareness initiatives malaria may be eradicated in your lifetime. On this World Health Day, bite malaria back.

2009 World Malaria Report.
The Hindu. "World Health Day (7 April 1960)".

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