forum. The catastrophic health effects of malaria and its huge economic costs justify the necessary long-term mobilization.
dSince the turn of the century, the international community has made incredible progress in the fight against malaria. Two decades of investment saved 7.6 million lives and avoided 1.5 billion cases of malaria, thereby greatly reducing the burden on the health system and improving the global economy.
We also found that it is possible to eliminate malaria. As proof, since 2000, more than 20 countries on all continents have eliminated this disease. This success is worth mentioning! Through determination, dedicated resources and innovation, we have seen countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka, Algeria and El Salvador take advantage of the social and economic benefits of eliminating malaria.
Malaria: A ray of hope that is worse than Covid in Africa
It is encouraging that there have never been so many countries that are about to eradicate malaria today. The World Health Organization announced this week that by 2025, the incidence of malaria in 25 countries/regions will reach zero.
Eliminating malaria can help strengthen health systems, promote economic development, and defeat pandemics such as Covid-19. More investment in the elimination of malaria can reduce the burden on the health system and improve the ability to prevent, detect and respond to a pandemic.
However, efforts to eradicate this preventable and treatable disease are far from over. In 2019, malaria caused 409,000 deaths, and the Covid-19 pandemic may increase this number in 2020. We must call for greater action to eliminate this pain once and for all, especially when we face new health threats.
Malaria killed 400,000 people worldwide in 2019
The Covid-19 pandemic has also exposed the huge economic losses caused by the health crisis-what we have long known about malaria. For example, Nigeria is the country with the highest burden of malaria in the world. It is estimated that about US$1.1 billion is lost annually due to absenteeism, reduced productivity and related treatment costs.
On the contrary, a healthier population can create a healthier economy. Since 2010, the Asia-Pacific region has made great strides in the fight against malaria, with deaths halved and cases reduced by 89%. The elimination of malaria by 2030 is expected to save more than 400,000 lives and prevent 123 million new infections, which will bring nearly US$90 billion in economic benefits to the region.
Kenya: Can a microorganism stop the spread of malaria?
As we have seen in other countries and regions that have recently eliminated malaria, progress depends on long-term commitment and investment in malaria surveillance and human resources for health. These investments (such as training) are critical to the dual response of Asia-Pacific countries to the Covid-19 pandemic and malaria. For example, in Thailand, one million rural health volunteers stepped in to control the response to the new coronavirus while continuing to effectively fight malaria during the outbreak. Despite Covid-19, countries such as Malaysia and El Salvador have succeeded in keeping malaria cases at zero. The latter became the first Central American country to obtain malaria-free certification earlier this year.