The World Health Organisation (WHO) has launched a manual on malaria prevention aimed at helping countries to assess the technical, operational and financial feasibility of moving towards the disease’s elimination,
The global health body said in a statement issued on Thursday in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, the manual would be particularly useful to countries especially in sub-Saharan Africa.
According to the statement, the launch of the manual comes after a recent report released by health experts indicated that six countries in sub-Saharan Africa account for an estimated 103 million malaria cases of 47 per cent of the global total each year.
The countries include Nigeria, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique and Cote d’Ivoire
WHO’s new guide addresses some challenges faced by these countries during the elimination scenario planning.
It also provides a comprehensive framework to assess different scenarios and timelines for moving towards elimination, depending on programme coverage and funding availability.
It said that control measures such as indoor residual spraying (IRS) with insecticides and insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs), antimalaria drugs such as artemisinin-combination therapy (ACT), have successfully reduced malaria cases and deaths across sub-Saharan Africa.
The beneficiaries of the manual will be research institutions and decision makers.
Having reduced malaria transmission to very low levels and re-oriented their malaria programmes, 19 countries worldwide – of which the majority are in sub-Saharan Africa – are currently classified by WHO as being in the “pre-elimination or elimination phase”.
Seven more countries have reduced transmission to zero and are in the “prevention of re-introduction phase’’.
According to official statistics, since 2000, there has been a 42 per cent reduction in malaria mortality rates globally and a 49 per cent decline in the WHO African Region.