According to a report in the journal Nature, 663 million cases of malaria have been prevented in the past 15 years; that’s a drop of 60% over pre-2000 levels.
Since the year 2000, a concerted campaign against malaria has led to unprecedented levels of intervention coverage across sub-Saharan Africa.The bulk of malaria cases, 80%, occur in Africa, where even with this major progress, a child still dies from malaria once every minute.
About 2/3 of the reduction in cases is being attributed to the distribution of a billion insecticide-treated bed nets. The drug Artemisinin and the spraying of insecticides in homes account for the rest of the decline. Interestingly, the leaves of the tree Artemisia annua, from which Artemisinin is derived, have been used for treating malaria for over two thousand years. The combination of methods in combating malaria is a vital part of the continued fight against the disease, given serious concerns on the development of drug-resistant parasites as expressed by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The executive director of UNICEF, Anthony Lake, noted: “We know how to prevent and treat malaria. Since we can do it, we must.”