In recent years, the fight against malaria has been hampered by pandemic-related disruptions and extreme weather events linked to climate change.
However, progress has stalled since 2015 due to rising drug and insecticide resistance, as well as conflict, according to the World Health Organization’s annual World Malaria Report.
“More than ever, we are at risk of losing our fight against this disease,” said Peter Sands, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.
“The report reveals that progress has ground to a halt, and in some places is reversing. Unless we take action now, malaria could resurge dramatically, wiping out the hard-won gains of the last two decades.”
Malaria cases are expected to reach 249 million by 2022.
Simultaneously, the global malaria case incidence was 58.4 cases per 1,000 people considered at risk, compared to the WHO’s target of 26.2 cases by 2025.
According to the World Health Organization, progress toward the 2025 target is 55% behind schedule and will be missed by 89% this year if current trends continue.
Cases increased in areas with the most severe weather.
According to the report, floods in Pakistan last year caused a fivefold increase in malaria cases.
Malaria deaths fell steadily from 864,000 in 2000 to 576,000 in 2019. They increased during the pandemic, and an estimated 608,000 people died from the disease last year, the majority of whom were children.
Two new malaria vaccines, both due to be available next year, offer some hope.
However, the report revealed a significant funding gap in the response. While $4.1 billion was invested in the global effort to combat malaria in 2022, it was estimated that $7.8 billion was required.