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Editorials

Malaria control stalls in high incidence areas

BMJ 2019; 365 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l2216 (Published 21 May 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;365:l2216
  1. Christopher J M Whitty, professor of public and international health1,
  2. Evelyn Ansah, director2
  1. 1London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
  2. 2Centre for Malaria Research, University of Health and Allied Sciences, Accra, Ghana
  3. Correspondence to: C J M Whitty Christopher.Whitty@lshtm.ac.uk

We have a fight on our hands to regain lost momentum

In 2015 the World Health Organization’s annual World Malaria Report struck an optimistic note, reporting remarkable progress against malaria on all fronts since 2000.1 The number of cases had dropped at speed. Mortality from malaria in Africa, the most affected continent, had fallen by 61% overall and 71% in children under 5 years old, with 57 countries reducing their malaria burden by over 75%. The prospect of eliminating malaria from some previously endemic areas had improved. New tools, drugs, and insecticides were being developed and funding for malaria had increased. This was all the more striking because during the decades before 2000, antimalarial drug resistance had risen, as had mortality, particularly among children in Africa.2

It may therefore surprise people reading the latest report, for 2018, to find a distinctly downbeat tone.3 WHO’s director-general, Tedros Ghebreyesus, also a distinguished malariologist, warned that progress against malaria had stalled, with increases in incident malaria in the highest burden countries.

As the details of the report make clear, …

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