In 2021, 619,000 people died of malaria, in 2020 the number of deaths was 625,000. In the long term, the world could defeat malaria, said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
The WHO emphasized that successes had been achieved primarily through preventive measures in the fight against malaria. In recent years, countries have distributed a record number of mosquito nets. Insecticide-treated bed nets are the most effective in most malaria-endemic countries.
However, eight countries, including Indonesia, Nigeria and Uganda, have distributed less than 60 percent of their available networks. Seven countries, including Botswana, the Central African Republic and Pakistan, had not distributed any networks to the population at all.
Last year, the WHO warned of major setbacks in the fight against malaria because efforts to combat the corona pandemic could take up too many resources.
The countries of sub-Saharan Africa are hardest hit by malaria. Around 95 percent of all illnesses and deaths occur in these states. Around four out of five deaths are in children under the age of five.
Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites, which are transmitted through the bites of female Anopheles mosquitoes. With mosquito nets treated with insecticides, the risk of infection can be greatly reduced. Typical symptoms of malaria are flare-ups of fever, cramps and stomach and intestinal problems.
In severe cases, brain damage or anemia occurs. Without treatment, the disease is often fatal. Malaria can be cured with timely diagnosis and medication. For treatment, doctors recommend combination preparations based on the herbal active ingredient artemisinin.
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