Malaria twice as deadly as thought

New research from the World Health Organization is showing that number of deaths world-wide due to malaria have been significantly underestimated. Instead of the 655,000 or so thought to have died in 2010, nearly 1.22 million died. That’s the bad news. The good news is that malaria deaths are preventable and are actually declining because of the work of groups like ERD with Nets For Life to provide mosquito netting for anyone who needs it.

The new data about the mortality rate was published in Lancet. The BBC reports on the study:

“”What this paper reports is a new way of estimating the number of malaria deaths, where they’ve used additional data sets and improved mathematical models from calculating mortality.”

But despite what [Dr Christopher Murray of the University of Washington, who led the study] calls the “disturbing” number of deaths recorded, he believes the underlying message of the report is that the disease can and is being controlled.

“Since 2004, the number of malaria deaths has dropped by about a third, and that’s really been the time when the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria has swung into action” he said.

“Over the past decade, 230 million cases of malaria have been treated and the same number of bed nets have been distributed to people at risk of malaria, and the result of that has been this huge downturn. So what we know is that we’re actually able to turn off malaria with our existing interventions.””

More here.

In 2009 the Episcopal Church began a three year campaign particularly focused on combating Malaria because of the significant successes being achieved. Nets for Life has a number of resources suitable for parish or diocesan use. If your diocese, like ours in Arizona, is in the middle of, or completing a drive to support this ministry, then the news of this new study will be one more point to make in arguing for the broadest possible support.

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