ISLAMABAD: World Malaria Day is commemorated every year on 25 April and recognizes global efforts to control malaria as globally, 3.3 billion people in 106 countries are at risk of malaria.
This year the theme for World Malaria Day is "Sustain Gains, Save Lives: Invest in Malaria" marks a decisive juncture in the history of malaria control.
World Malaria Day was established in May 2007 by the 60th session of the World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization.
The day was established to provide "education and understanding of malaria" and spread information on "year-long intensified implementation of national malaria-control strategies, including community-based activities for malaria prevention and treatment in endemic areas."
Prior to the establishment of World Malaria Day, Africa Malaria Day was held on April 25. Africa Malaria Day began in 2001, one year after the historic Abuja Declaration was signed by 44 African malaria-endemic countries at the African Summit on Malaria.
Investments in malaria control have created unprecedented momentum and remarkable returns in the past years. In Africa, malaria deaths have been cut by one third within the last decade; outside of Africa, 35 out of the 53 countries, affected by malaria, have reduced cases by 50% in the same time period.
In countries where access to malaria control interventions has improved most significantly, overall child mortality rates have fallen by approximately 20%.
However, these gains are fragile and will be reversed unless malaria continues to be a priority for global, regional and national decision-makers and donors.
Despite the current economic climate, development aid needs to continue flowing to malaria control programs to ensure widespread population access to life-saving and cost-effective interventions.
The huge increase in support for malaria control interventions in recent years means there is a reduction in the death rate; where once over a million people died of the disease annually, the figure is now closer to 790,000.
On World Malaria Day, everyone in the malaria community, from district health officers to net manufacturers, epidemiologists to volunteer health workers, are committed to continuing the fight to reduce the burden of malaria. In 2010, about 3.3 billion people almost half of the world's population were at risk of malaria. (APP)