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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that Africa recorded more than 600,000 deaths resulting from malaria in 2021.

WHO’s Regional Director for Africa said this on Monday in her message to commemorate this year’s World Malaria Day tagged ‘Harness innovation to reduce the malaria disease burden and save lives’.

Dr. Matshidiso Moeti said malaria remains a significant public health and development challenges, affirming that in the last year, about 95 percent of the estimated 228 million cases occurred in the WHO/AFRO Region, along with 602,020 reported deaths.

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“Six of our countries, the worst-impacted by malaria in the region, are reported to have accounted for up to 55 percent of cases globally, and for 50 percent of these deaths.

“Despite some slowing of progress to reduce malaria cases and deaths, and the disruptions to health services caused by COVID-19, we are still much further ahead than we were in 2000. We need to reignite that momentum and build on the recent advances.

“The ultimate goal is to reduce the number of people catching and dying from malaria. This requires a focus on research and on leveraging available evidence to ensure that our targeted interventions are an efficient use of resources, which produce measurable results.

“We also need to work on drug and insecticide resistance, as well as focus on new strains of malaria arising in the Region, which are more difficult to detect and treat.

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“Malaria is, however, about much more than medical and technological interventions. Malaria affects households and communities, and these communities need to be empowered to play an active role in the fight against this disease. As WHO in Africa, we recognize that a whole-of-society approach requires us to listen to, and learn from, those who are worst impacted.

World Malaria Day is marked annually on April 25 to focus global attention on the disease and its devastating impact on families, communities, and societal development, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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