BY Benson AFFUL

An estimated US$5.1billion is needed annually between 2011 and 2020 to achieve universal access to malaria interventions in 99 countries with on-going malaria transmission, the World Malaria Report 2012 has said.

The report said while many countries have increased domestic financing for malaria control, the total available global funding remained at US$2.3 billion in 2011 ? less than half of what is needed.

It indicated that international funding for malaria appears to have reached a plateau, well below the level required to reach the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and other internationally agreed global malaria targets.

The report quoted Dr. Robbert Newman, Director of the World Health Organisation?s Global Malaria Programme in Geneva, as saying that global targets for reducing the malaria burden will not be reached unless progress is accelerated in the highest-burden countries.

He said these countries are in a precarious situation and most of them need urgent financial assistance to procure and distribute life-saving commodities.

The malaria burden is contracted in 14 endemic countries, which account for an estimated 80% of malaria deaths. The Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria are the most affected countries in sub-Saharan Africa, while India is the most affected country in south-east Asia.

?During the past decade, a concerted effort by endemic countries, donors and global malaria partners led to strengthened malaria control around the world. The scale-up of malaria prevention and control interventions had the greatest impact in countries with high malaria transmission; 58% of the 1.1 million lives saved during this period were in the ten highest-burden countries,? the report said.

According to the report, 50 countries around the world are on track to reduce their malaria case incidence rates by 75% by 2015 ? in line with World Health Assembly and Roll Back Malaria targets. However, these 50 countries only represent 3% of the malaria cases that were estimated to have occurred in 2000.

In Ghana, where 90% of the health budget goes to pay wages and salaries of personnel, funding for malaria is provided mainly by Western donors but is not enough to make quick advances in the fight against the disease, which is still endemic in the country.

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