Malaria deaths are down over 25% in the last ten years — but don't get complacent

In their World Malaria Report 2011, the World Health Organization reports that the number of malaria victims in 2010 numbered just over 650,000 — that's down from around a million at the turn of the Millennium.

According to the New York Times:

The biggest gains were made in Africa, where a vast majority of the deaths occur and where donor dollars have been concentrated since the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the President's Malaria Initiative were created early in the decade.

But despite showing "clear progress in the fight against malaria and a decline in estimated malaria causes and deaths," the WHO warns that headway made in the last decade is no reason to become relaxed about the global health problems posed by malaria.

According to the report, while much of the progress has been due to an increase in the availability of insecticidal nets, more effective treatments, and socio-economic improvements, these are the areas that will face the greatest challenges in the years ahead; mosquito resistance to insecticides, disease resistance to previously effective therapies, and the poor financial status of organizations dedicated to the prevention and treatment of malaria all pose serious threats to the progress we've seen in the last ten years. [WHO via NYT]
Top image via NYT