In the Gambia, the goal of the country’s seven-year strategic plan, drafted by the national malaria control program, is to provide a framework for the reduction of the malaria burden by 50 per cent by 2015. Malaria is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality, especially among children under 5 years.
World Malaria Day is a chance to shine a spotlight on the global effort to control malaria. Each year, Roll Back Malaria (RBM) partner organizations unite around a common World Malaria Day theme. Defeat malaria is a three-year theme partners chose for the period of 2013-2015 to call attention to the need to reach the 2015 Millennium Development Goals and defeat malaria in the future.
Over half a million (627,000) people die from malaria each year, mostly children younger than five years old. There are an estimated 207 million cases of malaria each year. Although the vast majority of malaria cases occur in sub-Saharan Africa, the disease is a public-health problem in more than 109 countries in the world, 45 of which are in Africa. As much as 90 per cent of all malaria deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa. Malaria costs an estimated $12 billion in lost productivity in Africa. When insecticide-treated nets are used properly by three-quarters of the people in a community, malaria transmission is cut by 50 per cent, child deaths are cut by 20 per cent, and the mosquito population drops by as much as 90 per cent.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message for World Malaria Day, observed today 25 April, said the disease still kills more than half a million people annually. World Malaria Day, he said, is an opportunity to celebrate the fact that the world is on track to meet the global Millennium Development Goal target of reversing the incidence of malaria. On this World Malaria Day, let us renew our collective commitment to combat malaria and ultimately defeat this deadly disease.