Global & Disaster Medicine

Archive for the ‘WHO’ Category

WHO warns against a counter­feit anti-rabies vaccine now circulating in the Philippines.

Manila Post

“….The WHO said that “two falsified vaccines have so far been discovered.” It said that Verorab vaccines with batch number NIE35 and H1833 are counterfeit.….”


WHO Humanitarian Crisis Response Plans: 2018. How successful was it and what about 2019?

WHO

The WHO Humanitarian Response Plans for 2018 are based on rigorous assessment and analysis of need in 26 countries. The plans include an overview of the situation, WHO’s objectives to address the health aspects of the crisis, and the funds that will be required to do so. They form part of the overall humanitarian response plans developed by partners in the wider humanitarian response.

Reviewing 2017 • In 2017, humanitarian agencies reached more people in need than ever before: tens of millions of them, saving millions of lives; • Donors provided record levels of funding to Humanitarian Response Plans—nearly $13 billion by the end of November; • Humanitarian agencies helped stave off famines in South Sudan, Somalia, north-east Nigeria and Yemen, through effective scale-up and the rapid release of funds by donors; • Agencies stepped up to provide rapid assistance to refugees fleeing violence in Myanmar; and • Mobilized to support countries in the Caribbean to prepare for and respond to successive hurricanes of a ferocity rarely seen before. • Despite conflict and other constraints complicating the provision of assistance, plans were implemented effectively, with costs averaging approximately $230 a year per person for essential needs.

In 2018 • Conflict will continue to be the main driver of humanitarian needs. • Protracted violence will force people to flee from their homes, deny them access to enough food, and rob them of their means of making a living. • Droughts, floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters will also create humanitarian needs. Although the risk of El Niño or La Niña is low next year, some scientists forecast an increased risk of earthquakes in 2018. • In a number of countries, humanitarian needs will fall, but still remain significant, including Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Iraq, Mali, and Ukraine. • However, needs are rising substantially in Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya, Somalia and Sudan. • And needs will remain at exceptionally high levels in Nigeria, South Sudan, the Syria region, and Yemen, which is likely to remain the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. • Overall, 136 million people across the world will need humanitarian assistance and protection. • UN-coordinated response plans costed at $22.5 billion can help 91 million. • The overall number of people in need is more than 5% higher than in the 2017 GHO. The cost of the response plans sets a new record, about 1% higher than at the start of 2017. • Humanitarian agencies will become more effective, efficient and cost-effective. They will respond faster to crises, in a way more attuned to the needs of those they are trying to help. They will undertake more comprehensive, cross-sectoral and impartial needs assessments. They will also contribute more to long-term solutions by working more closely with development agencies. • Larger country-based pooled funds will improve the agility and prioritised use of funds in the places where they operate. An expanded Central Emergency Response Fund will better support the least-funded major crises.
PEOPLE IN NEED PEOPLE TO RECEIVE AID 135.7M 90.9M
FINANCIAL REQUIREMENTS $22.5B


WHO: Ten threats to global health in 2019

WHO

The world is facing multiple health challenges. These range from outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles and diphtheria, increasing reports of drug-resistant pathogens, growing rates of obesity and physical inactivity to the  health impacts of environmental pollution and climate change and multiple humanitarian crises.

To address these and other threats, 2019 sees the start of the World Health Organization’s new 5-year strategic plan – the 13th General Programme of Work. This plan focuses on a triple billion target:  ensuring 1 billion more people benefit from access to universal health coverage, 1 billion more people are protected from health emergencies and 1 billion more people enjoy better health and well-being. Reaching this goal will require addressing the threats to health from a variety of angles.

Here are 10 of the many issues that will demand attention from WHO and health partners in 2019.

Air pollution and climate change


Nine out of ten people breathe polluted air
every day. In 2019, air pollution is considered by WHO as the greatest environmental risk to health. Microscopic pollutants in the air can penetrate respiratory and circulatory systems, damaging the lungs, heart and brain, killing 7 million people prematurely every year from diseases such as cancer, stroke, heart and lung disease. Around 90% of these deaths are in low- and middle-income countries, with high volumes of emissions from industry, transport and agriculture, as well as dirty cookstoves and fuels in homes.The primary cause of air pollution (burning fossil fuels) is also a major contributor to climate change, which impacts people’s health in different ways. Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause 250 000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress.In October 2018, WHO held its first ever Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health in Geneva. Countries and organizations made more than 70 commitments to improve air quality. This year, the United Nations Climate Summit in September will aim to strengthen climate action and ambition worldwide. Even if all the commitments made by countries for the Paris Agreement are achieved, the world is still on a course to warm by more than 3°C this century.

Noncommunicable diseases

Noncommunicable diseases, such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease, are collectively responsible for over 70% of all deaths worldwide, or 41 million people. This includes 15 million people dying prematurely, aged between 30 and 69.Over 85% of these premature deaths are in low- and middle-income countries. The rise of these diseases has been driven by five major risk factors: tobacco use, physical inactivity, the harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diets and air pollution. These risk factors also exacerbate mental health issues, that may originate from an early age: half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14, but most cases go undetected and untreated – suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-19 year-olds.

Among many things, this year WHO will work with governments to help them meet the global target of reducing physical inactivity by 15% by 2030 – through such actions as implementing the ACTIVE policy toolkit to help get more people being active every day.

Global influenza pandemic

The world will face another influenza pandemic – the only thing we don’t know is when it will hit and how severe it will be. Global defences are only as effective as the weakest link in any country’s health emergency preparedness and response system.

WHO is constantly monitoring the circulation of influenza viruses to detect potential pandemic strains: 153 institutions in 114 countries are involved in global surveillance and response.

Every year, WHO recommends which strains should be included in the flu vaccine to protect people from seasonal flu. In the event that a new flu strain develops pandemic potential, WHO has set up a unique partnership with all the major players to ensure effective and equitable access to diagnostics, vaccines and antivirals (treatments), especially in developing countries.

Fragile and vulnerable settings

More than 1.6 billion people (22% of the global population) live in places where protracted crises (through a combination of challenges such as drought, famine, conflict, and population displacement) and weak health services leave them without access to basic care.

Fragile settings exist in almost all regions of the world, and these are where half of the key targets in the sustainable development goals, including on child and maternal health, remains unmet.WHO will continue to work in these countries to strengthen health systems so that they are better prepared to detect and respond to outbreaks, as well as able to deliver high quality health services, including immunization.

Antimicrobial resistance

The development of antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarials are some of modern medicine’s greatest successes. Now, time with these drugs is running out. Antimicrobial resistance – the ability of bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi to resist these medicines – threatens to send us back to a time when we were unable to easily treat infections such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, gonorrhoea, and salmonellosis. The inability to prevent infections could seriously compromise surgery and procedures such as chemotherapy.

Resistance to tuberculosis drugs is a formidable obstacle to fighting a disease that causes around 10 million people to fall ill, and 1.6 million to die, every year. In 2017, around 600 000 cases of tuberculosis were resistant to rifampicin – the most effective first-line drug – and 82% of these people had multidrug-resistant tuberculosis.

Drug resistance is driven by the overuse of antimicrobials in people, but also in animals, especially those used for food production, as well as in the environment. WHO is working with these sectors to implement a global action plan to tackle antimicrobial resistance by increasing awareness and knowledge, reducing infection, and encouraging prudent use of antimicrobials.

Ebola and other high-threat pathogens

In 2018, the Democratic Republic of the Congo saw two separate Ebola outbreaks, both of which spread to cities of more than 1 million people. One of the affected provinces  is also in an active conflict zone.

This shows that the context in which an epidemic of a high-threat pathogen like Ebola erupts is critical –  what happened in rural outbreaks in the past doesn’t always apply to densely populated urban areas or conflict-affected areas.

At a conference on Preparedness for Public Health Emergencies held last December, participants from the public health, animal health, transport and tourism sectors focussed on the growing challenges of tackling outbreaks and health emergencies in urban areas. They called for WHO and partners to designate 2019 as a “Year of action on preparedness for health emergencies”.

WHO’s R&D Blueprint identifies diseases and pathogens that have potential to cause a public health emergency but lack effective treatments and vaccines. This watchlist for priority research and development includes Ebola, several other haemorrhagic fevers, Zika, Nipah, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and disease X, which represents the need to prepare for an unknown pathogen that could cause a serious epidemic.

Weak primary health care

 Primary health care is usually the first point of contact people have with their health care system, and ideally should provide comprehensive, affordable, community-based care throughout life.

Primary health care can meet the majority of a person’s health needs of the course of their life. Health systems with strong primary health care are needed to achieve universal health coverage.Yet many countries do not have adequate primary health care facilities. This neglect may be a lack of resources in low- or middle-income countries, but possibly also a focus in the past few decades on single disease programmes. In October 2018, WHO co-hosted a major global conference in Astana, Kazakhstan at which all countries committed to renew the commitment to primary health care made in the Alma-Ata declaration in 1978.

In 2019, WHO will work with partners to revitalize and strengthen primary health care in countries, and follow up on specific commitments made by in the Astana Declaration.

Vaccine hesitancy

Vaccine hesitancy – the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines – threatens to reverse progress made in tackling vaccine-preventable diseases. Vaccination is one of the most cost-effective ways of avoiding disease – it currently prevents 2-3 million deaths a year, and a further 1.5 million could be avoided if global coverage of vaccinations improved.

Measles, for example, has seen a 30% increase in cases globally. The reasons for this rise are complex, and not all of these cases are due to vaccine hesitancy. However, some countries that were close to eliminating the disease have seen a resurgence.The reasons why people choose not to vaccinate are complex; a vaccines advisory group to WHO identified complacency, inconvenience in accessing vaccines, and lack of confidence are key reasons underlying hesitancy. Health workers, especially those in communities, remain the most trusted advisor and influencer of vaccination decisions, and they must be supported to provide trusted, credible information on vaccines.

In 2019, WHO will ramp up work to eliminate cervical cancer worldwide by increasing coverage of the HPV vaccine, among other interventions. 2019 may also be the year when transmission of wild poliovirus is stopped in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Last year, less than 30 cases were reported in both countries. WHO and partners are committed to supporting these countries to vaccinate every last child to eradicate this crippling disease for good.

Dengue

Dengue, a mosquito-borne disease that causes flu-like symptoms and can be lethal and kill up to 20% of those with severe dengue, has been a growing threat for decades.

A high number of cases occur in the rainy seasons of countries such as Bangladesh and India. Now, its season in these countries is lengthening significantly (in 2018, Bangladesh saw the highest number of deaths in almost two decades), and the disease is spreading to less tropical and more temperate countries such as Nepal, that have not traditionally seen the disease.An estimated 40% of the world is at risk of dengue fever, and there are around 390 million infections a year. WHO’s Dengue control strategy aims to reduce deaths by 50% by 2020.

HIV

The progress made against HIV has been enormous in terms of getting people tested, providing them with antiretrovirals (22 million are on treatment), and providing access to preventive measures such as a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP, which is when people at risk of HIV take antiretrovirals to prevent infection).

However, the epidemic continues to rage with nearly a million people every year dying of HIV/AIDS. Since the beginning of the epidemic, more than 70 million people have acquired the infection, and about 35 million people have died. Today, around 37 million worldwide live with HIV. Reaching people like sex workers, people in prison, men who have sex with men, or transgender people is hugely challenging. Often these groups are excluded from health services. A group increasingly affected by HIV are young girls and women (aged 15–24), who are particularly at high risk and account for 1 in 4 HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa despite being only 10% of the population.This year, WHO will work with countries to support the introduction of self-testing so that more people living with HIV know their status and can receive treatment (or preventive measures in the case of a negative test result). One activity will be to act on new guidance announced In December 2018, by WHO and the International Labour Organization to support companies and organizations to offer HIV self-tests in the workplace.


WHO in emergencies

WHO

Grade 3 emergencies

Grade 3: a single or multiple country event with substantial public health consequences that requires a substantial WCO response and/or substantial international WHO response. Organizational and/or external support required by the WCO is substantial. An Emergency Support Team, run out of the regional office, coordinates the provision of support to the WCO.

Grade 2 emergencies

Grade 2: a single or multiple country event with moderate public health consequences that requires a moderate WCO response and/or moderate international WHO response. Organizational and/or external support required by the WCO is moderate. An Emergency Support Team, run out of the regional office (the Emergency Support Team is only run out of HQ if multiple regions are affected), coordinates the provision of support to the WCO.

Grade 1 emergencies

Grade 1: a single or multiple country event with minimal public health consequences that requires a minimal WCO response or a minimal international WHO response. Organizational and/or external support required by the WCO is minimal. The provision of support to the WCO is coordinated by a focal point in the regional office.


Humanitarian Intervention Guide (mhGAP-HIG): Clinical management of mental, neurological and substance use conditions in humanitarian emergencies.

World Health Organization and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. mhGAP Humanitarian Intervention Guide (mhGAP-HIG): Clinical management of mental, neurological and substance use conditions in humanitarian emergencies. Geneva: WHO, 2015.

The target group for WHO work on mental health and psychosocial support in emergencies is any population exposed to extreme stressors, such as refugees, internally displaced persons, disaster survivors and terrorism-, war- or genocide-exposed populations.

The WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse emphasizes that the number of persons exposed to extreme stressors is large and that exposure to extreme stressors is a risk factor for mental health and social problems. The Department’s work on mental health in emergencies focuses mostly on resource-poor countries, where most populations exposed to natural disasters and war live.

 

Management of physical health conditions in adults with severe mental disorders

Preventable physical health conditions lead to premature mortality in people with severe mental disorders, reducing their life span by 10-20 years. The majority of these premature deaths are due to physical health conditions.

The physical health of people with severe mental disorders is commonly overlooked, not only by themselves and people around them, but also by health systems, resulting in crucial physical health disparities and limited access to health services. Many lives can be saved by ensuring that people with severe mental disorders receive treatment.

WHO’s “Guidelines on management of physical health conditions in adults with severe mental disorders” provide evidence-based, up-to-date recommendations to practitioners on how to recognize and manage comorbid physical and mental health conditions.

 


WHO: Proposed Health Component in the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration

WHO

Proposed Health Component in the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration

Document

To achieve the vision of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals – to leave no one behind – it is imperative that the health rights and needs of migrants be adequately addressed in the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM). Despite health being a prerequisite for sustainable development, health is missing from the six thematic sessions of the modalities for development of the GCM, as well as from the 24 elements contained in Annex II of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants. To address this, in its 140th session in January 2017, the WHO Executive Board requested that its Secretariat develop a framework of priorities and guiding principles to promote the health of refugees and migrants.

In May 2017, the World Health Assembly endorsed resolution 70.15 on ‘Promoting the health of refugees and migrants’. The resolution encourages Member States to use the Framework of priorities and guiding principles to promote the health of refugees and migrants at all levels and to ensure that health is adequately addressed both in the Global Compact for Refugees (GCR) and the GCM.

Based on the Framework, to further provide health resources for the development of the draft GCM, WHO in close cooperation with IOM, ILO, OHCHR, UNAIDS, and other stakeholders, developed the Proposed Health Component in the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. The document proposes eight actionable commitments and the means of implementation.


WHO: Addressing the health needs of refugees and migrants by 2030

WHO

Reports on situation analysis and practices in addressing the health needs of refugees and migrants

To achieve the vision of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, to leave no one behind, it is imperative that the health needs of refugees and migrants be adequately addressed. In its 140th session in January 2017, the Executive Board requested that its Secretariat develop a framework of priorities and guiding principles to promote the health of refugees and migrants. In May 2017, the World Health Assembly endorsed resolution 70.15 on Promoting the health of refugees and migrants. This resolution urges Member States to strengthen international cooperation regarding the health of refugees and migrants in line with the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants. It urged Member States to consider providing the necessary health-related assistance through bilateral and international cooperation to those countries hosting and receiving large populations of refugees and migrants, as well as using the Framework of priorities and guiding principles at all levels. In addition, the resolution requested the Director-General to conduct a situation analysis and identify best practices, experiences and lessons learned in order to contribute to the development of a global action plan for the Seventy-second World Health Assembly in 2019.

In alignment with World Health Assembly resolution 70.15, WHO made an online global call from August 2017 to January 2018 for contributions on evidence-based information, best practices, experiences and lessons learned in addressing the health needs of refugees and migrants. Between August 2017 and January 2018, 199 submissions were received, covering 85 countries, from 52 Member States and partners such as the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the International Labour Organization (ILO). The submissions included valuable information on the current situation of refugees and migrants, health challenges associated with migration and forced displacement, past and ongoing practices and interventions in promoting the health of refugees and migrants, legal frameworks in place for addressing the health needs of this population, lessons learned and recommendations for the future.

Reports

Practices


Ebola: “….If the outbreak goes unchecked, it could threaten the health and stability of neighboring countries: Uganda, Rwanda, and South Sudan. Such spread would lead to travel, trade, economic, and security implications reaching far beyond the region, which would exacerbate the toll of the outbreak and increase the cost of response…..”

NEJM

“……We therefore believe that the U.S. government should allow CDC staff to return to the field for as long as the WHO and others deem necessary. Security arrangements should be made to ensure that any deployed teams could operate safely in affected areas. Options for the safe deployment of CDC personnel may include using existing security forces, such as the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO), which is currently protecting WHO staff. Ideally, epidemic response agencies and organizations from other countries with Ebola experience that are not already engaged in the current response would similarly offer assistance to the WHO and the DRC.

The WHO has transformed its ability to respond to emergencies, but it remains dependent on international support, both technical and financial. It has requested that member states create a Contingency Fund for Emergencies (CFE) to support its work in responding to disease and other crises. To date, however, the CFE has received less than a third of its $100 million annual target. More support is clearly needed; it’s estimated that the response to the DRC Ebola outbreak alone will cost $44 million……”


WHO: Putting stalled malaria control efforts back on track

WHO

Reductions in malaria cases have stalled after several years of decline globally, according to the new World malaria report 2018. To get the reduction in malaria deaths and disease back on track, WHO and partners are joining a new country-led response, launched today, to scale up prevention and treatment, and increased investment, to protect vulnerable people from the deadly disease.

For the second consecutive year, the annual report produced by WHO reveals a plateauing in numbers of people affected by malaria: in 2017, there were an estimated 219 million cases of malaria, compared to 217 million the year before. But in the years prior, the number of people contracting malaria globally had been steadily falling, from 239 million in 2010 to 214 million in 2015.

“Nobody should die from malaria. But the world faces a new reality: as progress stagnates, we are at risk of squandering years of toil, investment and success in reducing the number of people suffering from the disease,” says Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “We recognise we have to do something different – now. So today we are launching a country-focused and -led plan to take comprehensive action against malaria by making our work more effective where it counts most – at local level.”

Where malaria is hitting hardest

In 2017, approximately 70% of all malaria cases (151 million) and deaths (274 000) were concentrated in 11 countries: 10 in Africa (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda and United Republic of Tanzania) and India. There were 3.5 million more malaria cases reported in these 10 African countries in 2017 compared to the previous year, while India, however, showed progress in reducing its disease burden.

Despite marginal increases in recent years in the distribution and use of insecticide-treated bed nets in sub-Saharan Africa – the primary tool for preventing malaria – the report highlights major coverage gaps. In 2017, an estimated half of at-risk people in Africa did not sleep under a treated net. Also, fewer homes are being protected by indoor residual spraying than before, and access to preventive therapies that protect pregnant women and children from malaria remains too low.

High impact response needed

In line with WHO’s strategic vision to scale up activities to protect people’s health, the new country-driven “High burden to high impact” response plan has been launched to support nations with most malaria cases and deaths. The response follows a call made by Dr Tedros at the World Health Assembly in May 2018 for an aggressive new approach to jump-start progress against malaria. It is based on four pillars:

  • Galvanizing national and global political attention to reduce malaria deaths;
  • Driving impact through the strategic use of information;
  • Establishing best global guidance, policies and strategies suitable for all malaria endemic countries; and
  • Implementing a coordinated country response.

Catalyzed by WHO and the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, “High burden to high impact” builds on the principle that no one should die from a disease that can be easily prevented and diagnosed, and that is entirely curable with available treatments.

“There is no standing still with malaria. The latest World malaria report shows that further progress is not inevitable and that business as usual is no longer an option,” said Dr Kesete Admasu, CEO of the RBM Partnership. “The new country-led response will jumpstart aggressive new malaria control efforts in the highest burden countries and will be crucial to get back on track with fighting one of the most pressing health challenges we face.”

Targets set by the WHO Global technical strategy for malaria 2016–2030 to reduce malaria case incidence and death rates by at least 40% by 2020 are not on track to being met.

Pockets of progress

The report highlights some positive progress. The number of countries nearing elimination continues to grow (46 in 2017 compared to 37 in 2010). Meanwhile in China and El Salvador, where malaria had long been endemic, no local transmission of malaria was reported in 2017, proof that intensive, country-led control efforts can succeed in reducing the risk people face from the disease.

In 2018, WHO certified Paraguay as malaria free, the first country in the Americas to receive this status in 45 years. Three other countries – Algeria, Argentina and Uzbekistan – have requested official malaria-free certification from WHO.

India – a country that represents 4% of the global malaria burden – recorded a 24% reduction in cases in 2017 compared to 2016. Also in Rwanda, 436 000 fewer cases were recorded in 2017 compared to 2016. Ethiopia and Pakistan both reported marked decreases of more than
240 000 in the same period.

“When countries prioritize action on malaria, we see the results in lives saved and cases reduced,” says Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “WHO and global malaria control partners will continue striving to help governments, especially those with the highest burden, scale up the response to malaria.”

Domestic financing is key

As reductions in malaria cases and deaths slow, funding for the global response has also shown a levelling off, with US$ 3.1 billion made available for control and elimination programmes in 2017 including US$ 900 million (28%) from governments of malaria endemic countries.  The United States of America remains the largest single international donor, contributing US$ 1.2 billion (39%) in 2017.

To meet the 2030 targets of the global malaria strategy, malaria investments should reach at least US$6.6 billion annually by 2020 – more than double the amount available today.

Editors note

Download the WHO World malaria report 2018 app for an interactive experience with the report’s country data: App Store (iOS devices) | Google Play (Android devices).


WHO: 2018’s World Malaria Report at a Glance

WHO

This year’s World malaria report at a glance

19 November 2018

The WHO’s 11th World malaria report summarizes global progress in the fight against malaria up to the end of 2017. The 2017 report showed that progress against malaria has stalled in many countries, and that the world was unlikely to achieve the WHO Global technical strategy for malaria 2016–2030 (GTS) morbidity and mortality targets for 2020. One year on, the 2018 report describes progress since then, including efforts to intensify the response in the highest burden countries.

Global and regional malaria burden, in numbers

Malaria cases

In 2017, an estimated 219 million cases of malaria occurred worldwide (95% confidence interval [CI]: 203–262 million), compared with 239 million cases in 2010 (95% CI: 219–285 million) and 217 million cases in 2016 (95% CI: 200–259 million).

Although there were an estimated 20 million fewer malaria cases in 2017 than in 2010, data for the period 2015–2017 highlight that no significant progress in reducing global malaria cases was made in this timeframe.

Most malaria cases in 2017 were in the WHO African Region (200 million or 92%), followed by the WHO South-East Asia Region with 5% of the cases and the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region with 2%.

Fifteen countries in sub-Saharan Africa and India carried almost 80% of the global malaria burden. Five countries accounted for nearly half of all malaria cases worldwide: Nigeria (25%), Democratic Republic of the Congo (11%), Mozambique (5%), India (4%) and Uganda (4%).

The 10 highest burden countries in Africa reported increases in cases of malaria in 2017 compared with 2016. Of these, Nigeria, Madagascar and the Democratic Republic of the Congo had the highest estimated increases, all greater than half a million cases. In contrast, India reported 3 million fewer cases in the same period, a 24% decrease compared with 2016.

The incidence rate of malaria declined globally between 2010 and 2017, from 72 to 59 cases per 1000 population at risk. Although this represents an 18% reduction over the period, the number of cases per 1000 population at risk has stood at 59 for the past 3 years.

The WHO South-East Asia Region continued to see its incidence rate fall – from 17 cases of the disease per 1000 population at risk in 2010 to 7 in 2017 (a 59% decrease). All other WHO regions recorded either little progress or an increase in incidence rate. The WHO Region of the Americas recorded a rise, largely due to increases in malaria transmission in Brazil, Nicaragua and Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of). In the WHO African Region, the malaria incidence rate remained at 219 cases per 1000 population at risk for the second year in a row.

Plasmodium falciparum is the most prevalent malaria parasite in the WHO African Region, accounting for 99.7% of estimated malaria cases in 2017, as well as in the WHO regions of South-East Asia (62.8%), the Eastern Mediterranean (69%) and the Western Pacific (71.9%). P. vivax is the predominant parasite in the WHO Region of the Americas, representing 74.1% of malaria cases.

Malaria deaths

In 2017, there were an estimated 435 000 deaths from malaria globally, compared with 451  000 estimated deaths in 2016, and 607 000 in 2010.

Children aged under 5 years are the most vulnerable group affected by malaria. In 2017, they accounted for 61% (266 000) of all malaria deaths worldwide.

The WHO African Region accounted for 93% of all malaria deaths in 2017. Although the WHO African Region was home to the highest number of malaria deaths in 2017, it also accounted for 88% of the 172 000 fewer global malaria deaths reported in 2017 compared with 2010.

Nearly 80% of global malaria deaths in 2017 were concentrated in 17 countries in the WHO African Region and India; 7 of these countries accounted for 53% of all global malaria deaths: Nigeria (19%), Democratic Republic of the Congo (11%), Burkina Faso (6%), United Republic of Tanzania (5%), Sierra Leone (4%), Niger (4%) and India (4%).

All WHO regions except the WHO Region of the Americas recorded reductions in mortality in 2017 compared with 2010. The largest declines occurred in the WHO regions of South- East Asia (54%), Africa (40%) and the Eastern Mediterranean (10%). Despite these gains, the malaria mortality reduction rate has also slowed since 2015, reflecting the estimated trends in malaria case incidence.

Malaria-related anaemia

This year’s report includes a section on malaria-related anaemia, a condition that, left untreated, can result in death, especially among vulnerable populations such as pregnant women and children aged under 5 years.

Anaemia was once a key indicator of progress in malaria control, and its prevalence was used to evaluate the efficacy of interventions. Recent years have seen a decline in awareness of the burden of malaria-associated anaemia

Despite its importance as a direct and indirect consequence of malaria, the prevalence of anaemia among populations vulnerable to the disease has not been reported consistently as a metric of malaria transmission and burden.

Data from household surveys conducted in 16 high-burden African countries between 2015 and 2017 show that, among children aged under 5 years, the prevalence of any anaemia was 61%, mild anaemia 25%, moderate anaemia 33% and severe anaemia 3%. Of children who tested positive for malaria, the prevalence of any anaemia was 79%, mild anaemia 21%, moderate anaemia 50% and severe anaemia 8%.


Investments in malaria programmes and research

Malaria control and elimination investments

In 2017, an estimated US$ 3.1 billion was invested in malaria control and elimination efforts globally by governments of malaria endemic countries and international partners – an amount slighter higher than the figure reported for 2016.

Nearly three quarters (US$ 2.2 billion) of investments in 2017 were spent in the WHO African Region, followed by the WHO regions of South-East Asia (US$ 300 million), the Americas (US$ 200 million), and the Eastern Mediterranean and the Western Pacific (US$ 100 million each).

In 2017, US$ 1.4 billion was invested in low-income countries, US$ 1.2 billion in lower-middle income countries and US$ 300 million in upper-middle-income countries. International funding represented the major source of funding in low-income and lower-middle-income countries, at 87% and 70%, respectively.

Governments of endemic countries contributed 28% of total funding (US$ 900 million) in 2017, a figure unchanged from 2016. Two thirds of domestically sourced funds were invested in malaria control activities carried out by national malaria programmes (NMPs), with the remaining share estimated as the cost of patient care.

As in previous years, the United States of America (USA) was the largest international source of malaria financing, providing US$ 1.2 billion (39%) in 2017. Country members of the Development Assistance Committee together accounted for US$ 700 million (21%). The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland contributed around US$ 300 million (9%) while the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provided US$ 100 million (2%).

Of the US$ 3.1 billion invested in 2017, US$ 1.3 billion was channelled through the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Investment outlook

Although funding for malaria has remained relatively stable since 2010, the level of investment in 2017 is far from what is required to reach the first 2 milestones of the GTS; that is, a reduction of at least 40% in malaria case incidence and mortality rates globally by 2020, compared with 2015 levels.

To reach the GTS 2030 targets, it is estimated that annual malaria funding will need to increase to at least US$ 6.6 billion per year by 2020.

Stepping up investments in malaria research and development is key to achieving the GTS targets. In 2016, US$ 588 million was spent in this area, representing 85% of the estimated annual need for research and development.

Although research and development funding for malaria vaccines and drugs declined in 2016 compared with 2015, investments in vector control products almost doubled, from US$ 33 million to US$ 61 million.

Deliveries of malaria commodities

Insecticide-treated mosquito nets

Between 2015 and 2017, a total of 624 million insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs), mainly long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs), were reported by manufacturers as having been delivered globally. This represents a substantial increase over the previous period 2012–2014, when 465 million ITNs were delivered globally.

An estimated 552 million ITNs were distributed by NMPs globally, with most (459 million or 83%) being delivered in sub-Saharan Africa over the period 2015–2017.

Globally, 85% of ITNs were distributed through free mass distribution campaigns, 8% in antenatal care facilities and 4% as part of immunization programmes.

Rapid diagnostic tests

An estimated 276 million rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) were sold globally in 2017.

In 2017, 245 million RDTs were distributed by NMPs. Most RDTs (66%) were tests that detected P. falciparum only and were supplied to sub-Saharan Africa.

In sub-Saharan Africa, RDTs are becoming increasingly the most used method to test for malaria diagnosis among suspected malaria patients in public health facilities. In 2017, an estimated 75% of malaria tests were conducted using RDTs, up from 40% in 2010.

Artemisinin-based combination therapy

An estimated 2.74 billion treatment courses of artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) were procured by countries over the period 2010–2017. An estimated 62% of these procurements were reported to have been made for the public sector.

During the period 2010–2017, 1.45 billion ACT treatment courses were delivered by NMPs, of which 1.42 billion (98%) were in the WHO African Region.

With increases in diagnostic testing in recent years, ACT treatment courses are becoming more targeted towards patients who tested positive for malaria. This is demonstrated by a substantially reduced ratio of ACTs to tests (0.8 in 2017 compared with 2.5 in 2010). Nevertheless, this implies that an estimated 30% of patients who received ACTs were not tested for malaria.


Preventing malaria

Vector control

Half of people at risk of malaria in Africa are sleeping under an ITN: in 2017, 50% of the population was protected by this intervention, an increase from 29% in 2010. Furthermore, the percentage of the population with access to an ITN increased from 33% in 2010 to 56% in 2017. However, coverage has improved only marginally since 2015 and has been at a standstill since 2016.

Households with at least 1 ITN for every 2 people doubled to 40% between 2010 and 2017. However, this figure represents only a modest increase over the past 3 years, and remains far from the target of universal coverage.

Fewer people at risk of malaria are being protected by indoor residual spraying (IRS), a prevention method that involves spraying the inside walls of dwellings with insecticides. Globally, IRS protection declined from a peak of 5% in 2010 to 3% in 2017, with decreases seen across all WHO regions.

In the WHO African Region, IRS coverage dropped from 80 million people at risk in 2010, to a low point of 51 million in 2016 before rising to 64 million in 2017. In other WHO regions, the number of people protected with IRS in 2017 was 1.5 million in the Americas, 7.5 million in the Eastern Mediterranean, 41 million in South-East Asia, and 1.5 million in the Western Pacific.

The declines in IRS coverage are occurring as countries change or rotate insecticides (changing to more expensive chemicals), and as operational strategies change (e.g. decreasing at-risk populations in malaria elimination countries).

Preventive therapies

To protect women in areas of moderate and high malaria transmission in Africa, WHO recommends “intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy” (IPTp) with the antimalarial drug sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine. Among 33 African countries that reported on IPTp coverage levels in 2017, an estimated 22% of eligible pregnant women received the recommended 3 or more doses of IPTp, compared with 17% in 2015 and 0% in 2010.

In 2017, 15.7 million children in 12 countries in Africa’s Sahel subregion were protected through seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) programmes. However, about 13.6 million children who could have benefited from this intervention were not covered, mainly due to a lack of funding.


Diagnostic testing and treatment

Accessing care

Prompt diagnosis and treatment is the most effective way to prevent a mild case of malaria from developing into severe disease and death. Based on national household surveys completed in 19 countries in sub-Saharan Africa between 2015 and 2017, a median of 52% (interquartile range [IQR]: 44–62%) of children with a fever (febrile) were taken to a trained medical provider for care. This includes public sector hospitals and clinics, formal private sector health facilities and community health workers.

Although more febrile children were brought for care in the public health sector (median: 36%, IQR: 30–46%) than in the formal medical private sector (median: 8%, IQR: 5–10%), a high proportion of febrile children did not receive any medical attention (median: 40%, IQR: 28–45%). Poor access to health care providers or lack of awareness of malaria symptoms among caregivers are among the contributing factors.

The national surveys reveal disparities in access to health care based on household income and location: the percentage of febrile children brought for care was higher in wealthier households (median: 72%, IQR: 62–75%) compared with poorer households (median: 58%, IQR: 47–67%), and was higher among those living in urban areas (median: 69%, IQR: 59–76%) compared with rural areas (median: 60%, IQR: 51–71%).

Diagnosing malaria

According to 58 surveys conducted in 30 sub-Saharan African countries between 2010 and 2017, the percentage of children with a fever that received a diagnostic test in the public health sector has increased, hitting a median of 59% (IQR: 34–75%) over the period 2015– 2017, up from a median of 33% (IQR:18–44%) for 2010–2012.

Data collected from 56 surveys carried out in sub-Saharan Africa reveal that the percentage of febrile children attending public health facilities who received a malaria diagnostic test before antimalarial treatment has gone up from a median of 35% (IQR: 27–56%) in 2010–2012 to 74% (IQR: 51–81%) in 2015–2017. A similar increase has been recorded in the formal private health sector, from 41% (IQR: 17–67%) in 2010–2012 to 63% (IQR: 41–83%) in 2015–2017.

Treating malaria

Based on 19 household surveys conducted in sub-Saharan Africa between 2015 and 2017, the percentage of children aged under 5 years with a fever who received any antimalarial drug was 29% (IQR: 15–48%).

Children are more likely to be given ACTs – the most effective antimalarial drugs – if medical care is sought in the public sector compared with the private sector. Data from 18 national surveys conducted in sub-Saharan Africa show that for the period 2015–2017, an estimated 88% (IQR: 73–92%) of febrile children brought for treatment for malaria in the public health sector received ACTs, compared with 74% (IQR: 47–88%) in the formal medical private sector.

To bridge the treatment gap among children, WHO recommends the uptake of integrated community case management (iCCM). This approach promotes integrated management of common life-threatening conditions in children – malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea – at health facility and community levels. In 2017, of 21 African countries with high malaria burden, 20 had iCCM policies in place, of which 12 had started implementing those policies.


Malaria surveillance systems

Effective surveillance of malaria cases and deaths is essential for identifying the areas or population groups that are most affected by malaria, and for targeting resources for maximum impact. A strong surveillance system requires high levels of access to care and case detection, and complete reporting of health information by all sectors, whether public or private.

In 2017, among 52 moderate to high-burden countries, reporting rates of malaria were 60% or more. In the WHO African Region, 36 out of 46 countries indicated that at least 80% of public health facilities had reported data on malaria through their national health information system.


Malaria elimination

Globally, the elimination net is widening, with more countries moving towards zero indigenous cases: in 2017, 46 countries reported fewer than 10 000 such cases, up from 44 countries in 2016 and 37 countries in 2010. The number of countries with less than 100 indigenous cases – a strong indicator that elimination is within reach – increased from 15 countries in 2010 to 24 countries in 2016 and 26 countries in 2017.

Paraguay was certified by WHO as malaria free in 2018, while Algeria, Argentina and Uzbekistan have made formal requests to WHO for certification. In 2017, China and El Salvador reported zero indigenous cases.

One of the key GTS milestones for 2020 is elimination of malaria in at least 10 countries that were malaria endemic in 2015. At the current rate of progress, it is likely that this milestone will be reached.

In 2016, WHO identified 21 countries with the potential to eliminate malaria by the year 2020. WHO is working with the governments in these countries – known as “E-2020 countries” – to support their elimination acceleration goals.

Although 11 E-2020 countries remain on track to achieve their elimination goals, 10 have reported increases in indigenous malaria cases in 2017 compared with 2016.


Challenges in getting the malaria response back on track

The challenges facing the global malaria response are many, and as highlighted in this year’s report, immediate barriers to achieving the fast-approaching GTS milestones for 2020 and 2025 are malaria’s continued rise in countries with the highest burden of the disease and inadequate international and domestic funding. At the same time, the continued emergence of parasite resistance to antimalarial medicines and mosquito resistance to insecticides pose threats to progress.

High-burden countries

In 2017, 11 countries accounted for approximately 70% of estimated malaria cases and deaths globally: 10 in sub-Saharan Africa and India. Among these countries, only India reported progress in reducing its malaria cases in 2017 compared to 2016.

To get the global malaria response back on track, a new country-driven approach – “High burden to high impact” – will be launched in Mozambique on 19 November 2018, alongside the release of the World malaria report 2018.

Catalyzed by WHO and the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, the approach is founded upon 4 pillars: galvanize national and global political attention to reduce malaria deaths; drive impact in country through the strategic use of information; establish best global guidance, policies and strategies suitable for all malaria endemic countries; and implement a coordinated country response.

Funding

In 24 out of 41 high-burden countries, which rely mainly on external funding for malaria programmes, the average level of funding available per person at risk declined in 2015–2017 compared to 2012–2014. This ranged from a 95% reduction in the Congo (highest) to a 1% decrease in Uganda (lowest) over the time points compared.

In the countries that experienced a 20% or more decrease in total funding per person at risk, international financing declined, at times combined with lower domestic investments.

Among the 41 high-burden countries, overall, funding per person at risk of malaria stood at US$ 2.32.

Drug resistance

ACTs have been integral to the recent success of global malaria control, and protecting their efficacy for the treatment of malaria is a global health priority.

Most studies conducted between 2010 and 2017 show that ACTs remain effective, with overall efficacy rates greater than 95% outside the Greater Mekong subregion (GMS). In Africa, artemisinin (partial) resistance has not been reported to date.

Although multidrug resistance, including artemisinin (partial) resistance and partner drug resistance, has been reported in 4 GMS countries, there has been a massive reduction in malaria cases and deaths in this subregion. Monitoring the efficacy of antimalarial drugs has resulted in prompt updating of malaria treatment policies in most GMS countries.

Insecticide resistance

The recently released WHO Global report on insecticide resistance in malaria vectors: 2010– 2016 showed that resistance to the four commonly used insecticide classes – pyrethroids, organochlorines, carbamates and organophosphates – is widespread in all major malaria vectors across the WHO regions of Africa, the Americas, South-East Asia, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Western Pacific.

Of the 80 malaria endemic countries that provided data for 2010–2017, resistance to at least 1 of the 4 insecticide classes in 1 malaria vector from 1 collection site was detected in 68 countries, an increase over 2016 due to improved reporting and 3 new countries reporting on resistance for the first time. In 57 countries, resistance to 2 or more insecticide classes was reported.

Resistance to pyrethroids – the only insecticide class currently used in ITNs – is widespread and was detected in at least 1 malaria vector in more than two thirds of the sites tested and was highest in the WHO regions of Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean.

Resistance to organochlorines was detected for at least 1 malaria vector in almost two thirds of the sites and was highest in the WHO South-East Asia Region. Resistance to carbamates and organophosphates was less prevalent and was detected in 33% and 27% of the tested sites, respectively. Prevalence was highest for carbamates in the WHO South-East Asia Region and for organophosphates in the WHO Western Pacific Region.

In view of the current situation, resistance monitoring and management plans are essential, in line with the WHO Global plan for insecticide resistance management in malaria vectors. To date, 40 countries have completed these plans.

ITNs continue to be an effective tool for malaria prevention, even in areas where mosquitoes have developed resistance to pyrethroids. This was evidenced in a large multicountry evaluation coordinated by WHO between 2011 and 2016 across study locations in 5 countries.

 


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