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The World Health Organization (WHO) and UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) reported that the world has achieved the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on malaria, a result that translates into 6.2 million lives saved, although approximately 3.2 billion people, or nearly half of the world's population, remain at risk.

The 60% decrease in malaria deaths since 2000 is attributed to increased investment, with expansion of core interventions across sub-Saharan Africa.

Unicef WHO17 September 2015: The World Health Organization (WHO) and UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported that the world has achieved the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on malaria, a result that translates into 6.2 million lives saved, although approximately 3.2 billion people, or nearly half of the world’s population, remain at risk. The 60% decrease in malaria deaths since 2000 is attributed to increased investment, with expansion of core interventions across sub-Saharan Africa.

The report, ‘Achieving the Malaria MDG Target: Reversing the incidence of malaria 2000-2015,’ was launched in London, UK, on 17 September 2015.

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan called global malaria control “one of the greatest public health success stories of the past 15 years,” and said the progress indicates that “our strategies are on target.”

UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake urged further progress in tackling malaria, which he said “kills mostly young children, especially those living in the poorest and most remote places.”

The fastest decreases in eliminating malaria occurred in the Caucasus and Central Asia, which reported zero cases in 2014, as well as in Eastern Asia. In 2014, six countries reported fewer than ten cases of malaria, and 13 countries reported zero cases. Of the 106 countries and territories with malaria transmission in 2000, 102 are expected to reverse the incidence of malaria by 2015.

Approximately 80% of malaria cases and 78% of deaths globally occur in 15 countries, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, the report states, and in that region, one in four children lives in a household without an insecticide-treated net.

Children under five account for more than two-thirds of all malaria-associated deaths, and the report notes that the under-five malaria death rate decreased by 65%, or an estimated 5.9 million child lives, between 2000 and 2015. Still, the report identifies bottlenecks in providing full access to malaria prevention, testing and treatment, especially for children under five and pregnant women.

The report also discusses progress on eliminating malaria in the context of sustaining economic growth and achieving other health and development goals, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The WHO Global Technical Strategy for Malaria and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership’s ‘Action and investment to defeat malaria 2016-2030′ aim to reduce global malaria incidence and mortality by 90% by 2030. To achieve this goal, the WHO report states that annual funding for malaria will need to triple from US$2.7 billion to $8.7 billion by 2030, and must be accompanied by country leadership and political will. [UN Press Release] [UNICEF Press Release] [WHO Press Release] [Achieving the Malaria MDG Target]

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