World Malaria Day 2021 - 25 April 2021
Reaching the zero malaria target
WHO celebrates World Malaria Day each year on 25 April to underscore the collective energy and commitment of the global malaria community in uniting around the common goal of a world free of malaria.
This year, WHO and partners will recognize the achievements of countries that are nearing malaria elimination, as well as those that have crossed the finish line.
They provide inspiration for all nations that are working to stamp out this deadly disease and improve the health and livelihoods of their populations.
In recent years progress towards elimination has plateaued, and many prevention campaigns have been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the Western Pacific Region, 80% of malaria cases are reported in Papua New Guinea. When taken together with Cambodia and Solomon Islands, the three countries comprise 98% of the estimated cases in the Region.
There were roughly 250 reported deaths in the region due to malaria.
Still, five out of the 10 malaria endemic countries in the region are on target to achieve more than a 40% reduction in case incidence by 2021.
As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads rapidly around the globe, there is an urgent need to aggressively tackle the novel coronavirus while ensuring that other killer diseases, such as malaria, are not neglected. The WHO Global Malaria Programme is leading a cross-partner effort to mitigate the negative impact of the coronavirus in malaria-affected countries and, where possible, contribute towards a successful COVID-19 response.
Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and Malaria Elimination
Universal Health Coverage (UHC) – or all people having access to the health services they need without financial hardship – is a heady ambition.
To meet this vision and the core principle of leaving no one behind, efforts must focus on reaching the most marginalized, hard-to-reach populations.
Interestingly, these are the same communities we must reach to get back on track with ending the malaria epidemic.
1. Empower community health workers on the front line
Malaria interventions often serve as an entry point to the health system in many of the world’s poorest countries, which have the furthest to go to reach UHC.
Taking a human-centred approach to tackling malaria, by engaging communities and strengthening the local health system, helps create trust in public institutions.
2. Strengthen surveillance and information systems
A targeted and informed response is fundamental to maintaining progress on tackling malaria and avoiding the risk of resurgence.
Investing in health surveillance and information-management systems across our focus countries is building the capacity of the primary health care workforce to collect and analyse data as well as integrating data between levels of the health system and the private and public sectors.
Ensuring health information systems can collect timely, reliable, quality data – which can be analysed to identify areas of weakness, develop innovative solutions and track progress towards equity targets – is critical to building strong health systems and achieving UHC.