May 20, 2015

The World Health Organization members Thursday approved a $439million program budget and agreed to a new global malaria strategy that will help reduce the global disease burden by 40 percent by 2020.

The new strategy aims to eliminate malaria in at least 35 new countries by 2030 and cut the disease globally by at least 90 percent.

The mortality rate from malaria globally has dropped by 47 percent between 2000 and 2013. However, millions of people are still unable to access malaria prevention and treatment, and most cases and deaths continue to go unregistered and unreported.

In 2013, malaria killed an estimated 584,000 thousand people.

The new strategy will build upon recent successes to radically reduce that figure.

The new strategy, developed in close consultation with endemic countries and partners, provides a comprehensive framework that will enable countries to develop tailored programs that will sustain and accelerate progress towards malaria elimination.

The three key elements of the strategy ensure universal access to malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment; accelerating efforts towards elimination and attainment of malaria-free status; and strengthening malaria surveillance.

It also emphasizes the importance of innovation and research, and the critical need for political commitment, sustainable financing, strong health systems, and collaboration across different sectors.

A major expansion of the WHO’s-recommended core package of measures for the 2016-2030 strategy includes vector control, chemoprevention, diagnostic testing and treatment, which has proved both cost effective and efficient.

The WHO’s US$439 million program budget for the upcoming year 2016-17, which includes a US$236 million increase over the 2014-15 program budget requirement to meet the needs of countries, will allow the organization to leverage the experience it gained during the Ebola outbreak to address emerging priorities such as antimicrobial resistance, health and the environment, malaria and viral hepatitis and implement resolutions passed by the Assembly and WHO’s Regional Committees.

The health organization said additional funds will also be used to further strengthen transparency, improve risk management and enhance accountability.

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