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Study Linking Malaria Resurgence, Reduction In Malaria Control Programs Highlights Need For Sustained Funding

“Progress in eradicating malaria is jeopardized if programs to combat the disease are cut,” a study published in the Malaria Journal on Tuesday concluded, according to a BMJ news article. The study “looked at 75 documented cases of malaria resurgence worldwide since the 1930s” and “found that in 90 percent of the cases, resurgence was linked, in part, to weakening of malaria control programs,” the article states. “The study warns: ‘Today, the threat of resurgence again looms as constrained global funding and competing priorities threaten the sustainability of successes,'” and it “highlights brief increases in the incidence of malaria in some countries, including Rwanda and Zambia, as a matter for concern,” BMJ notes (Gulland, 4/24).

The study, which is allied to the theme of Wednesday’s World Malaria Day, “Sustain Gains, Save Lives: Invest in Malaria,” “found that the most common reason for weakening of malaria control programs was funding disruptions,” a BioMed Central press release states (4/23). In an accompanying Malaria Journal commentary (.pdf), Robert Newman, director of the WHO’s Global Malaria Programme, writes, “Their findings are timely and compelling, demonstrating that global efforts will be wasted if the resources … required to achieve and maintain universal access to life-saving malaria prevention and control tools” are not secured. He concludes, “The increases in funding for malaria over the past decade, while impressive, still fall far short of the nearly $6 billion required annually. … However, with sufficient support, malaria resurgences can be relegated to history” (4/24).