Is it possible to eliminate malaria deaths in less than five years?
With something like 781,000 malaria deaths in 2009, projecting to zero can sound a little crazy. But the World Health Organization (WHO) says an end to deaths from the preventable and treatable disease is possible as early as 2015.
The number of fatalities caused by the disease, though high, is already on the decline. Ten years ago, malaria-related deaths topped 1 million, but the incidence of malaria in 11 African countries has dropped by more than 50 percent over the past decade.
Okay, so how do we reduce the death count to zero?
First and foremost, funding needs to dramatically increase.
The WHO estimates that $6 billion per year is needed. Current annual funding is at about $1.8 billion.
If the money does come through, the WHO and other organizations will expand upon strategies that are already saving hundreds of thousands of lives.
Within the past three years, Reuters Africa reports, "enough insecticide-treated mosquito nets have been provided to protect 578 million of the estimated 700 million people at risk of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. A further 75 million are protected by indoor spraying." Recent advancements include a possible new vaccine.
With a mix of bed nets, insecticide spraying, education, treatment, vaccines and major mulla, the world could rid itself of a disease that puts half of the globe's population at risk.