September 19, 2008 1:04:58 am
Malaria has infected millions of people worldwide, with a large number of cases being reported from India alone, says the latest report of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“There were an estimated 242 million cases of malaria in 2006, 86 per cent (or 212 million) in the African region. However, among the cases that occurred outside Africa, 80 per cent were in India, Sudan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Pakistan,” states the WHO annual malaria report released on Thursday.
However, there is good news. Owing to urbanisation in Asia, forest habitats of disease spreading mosquitoes are rapidly being destroyed. As a result, the international health agency estimates that the number of people getting infected would also reduce.
According to the WHO report, 242 million people worldwide were infected with malaria in 2006. A prior estimate had stated that 350 million to 500 million people were afflicted with the disease every year.
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In general, however, the report states that links between interventions and trends remain ambiguous and “more careful investigation of the effects of control are needed in most countries”.
Countries still lack sufficient resources to tackle malaria, and even though public health services are procuring more anti-malarial drugs, access to treatment is still inadequate in all the countries that were surveyed, WHO said.
Most African countries are far from meeting their target of 80 per cent malaria control in four main ways — mosquito nets, drugs, insecticide sprays and treatment during pregnancy — set by WHO in 2005, the report added.
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