World Malaria Day 2023: World Malaria Day is observed every year on April 25 to raise awareness and recognise the global efforts to control the disease. The day holds significance as it motivates administrations across the world to take the best possible steps to eradicate malaria as soon as possible. Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by a parasite. It is transmitted through the bites of infected mosquitoes.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged the countries affected by the disease globally to make sure the proper measures are put in place to ensure that no person is left behind. The global health body has asked such countries to accelerate the reach of high-impact tools and strategies to prevent, detect and treat malaria. It also said that the focus should be towards reaching the most vulnerable.
World Malaria Day 2023: World is not on track to reach the critical targets
According to Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director for South-East Asia, the world is not on track to reach the critical targets in the shadow of the coronavirus crisis. The two targets of the WHO Global Technical Strategy (GTS) for malaria 2016-2030 are – to reduce global case incidence and mortality by 90 per cent or more by 2030, based on 2015 levels.
It is estimated that 619,000 people globally died of malaria in 2021. This was slightly less than 625,000 deaths because of the disease in 2020. According to Dr Khetrapal Singh, there were an estimated 247 million new cases of malaria in the year 2021, compared to 245 million in 2020.
Maldives and Sri Lanka maintain their malaria-free status
Amid the ongoing situation of COVID-19, two countries – Maldives and Sri Lanka – have maintained their malaria-free status. Also, there are five countries – Bhutan, DPR Korea, Nepal, Thailand and Timor-Leste – among 25 countries in South-East Asia Region and one territory globally that have been identified as having the potential to eliminate malaria by 2025.
In 2022, health ministers of several countries from across the region emphasised on the urgent need to scale up proven implementation strategies, while also adopting innovative strategies and tools. They unanimously endorsed a statement on ‘Renewed Commitment for Malaria Elimination.’