WHO’s T3 initiative against Malaria
24th April, World Malaria Day, Geneve: WHO celebrates the progress made in Malaria treatment and present their new initiative for further combat; the T3 initiative.
In the past ten years, increased investment in malaria prevention and control has saved more than a million lives,” says Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. “This is a tremendous achievement. But we are still far from achieving universal access to life-saving malaria interventions.
The need of new interventions becomes clear just one day later, on the 25th of April, when the MSF reports an overwhelming rise of malaria in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) where an increase of 250% is seen. During the last month the MSF monitored an increase of malaria within DRC, including severe malaria. In six provinces the number of people recived treatment from 2009 on has rosen by 250% according to the MSF. The rise that is seen the last months is alarming: More and more people are in need of a blood transfusion to treat malaria-induced anaemia.
Treatment outside the cities remains especially weak, as it is inaffordable of or geographically inaccessible,” said Dr Jorgen Stassijns, a malaria specialist at MSF. “In some areas, healthcare is simply non-existent. Even when treatment is available, the drugs are sometimes inadequate or outdated,” he said.
Although the WHO has succeeded to decrease the malaria mortality rate by one third in Africa, the situation in the DRC shows there is still a lot of work to do before health related Millennium Development Goals could be reached by 2015.
The WHO urges the global health community to invest in diagnostic tests, increase treatment and scale up malaria tracking systems in order to save more lives. To support the endemic countries the WHO has published three guidance pillars: Test, Treat and Track called the T3 initiative.
T3: Test, Treat, Track aims to galvanize endemic countries and their partners to build on the success of malaria prevention efforts over the past decade,” says Dr Robert Newman, Director of WHO’s Global Malaria Programme. “In recent years, there has been major progress in the development of new diagnostic tools and highly effective antimalarial medicines. The challenge now is to ensure these tools get used, and that countries accurately measure their public health impact.
Until countries are able to test, treat, and report every malaria case we will never defeat this disease,” says Dr Margaret Chan, who is in Namibia for World Malaria Day this year. “We need strong and sustained political commitment from all countries where malaria is endemic, and from the global health community, to see this fight through to the end.
For now the MSF, together with the local healthcare, is doing everything they can to treat all people infected with malaria in the DRC, trying to overrule the burden of the disease spreading itself to places the MSF is unable to reach.
The Guardian states:
MSF quoted an unnamed nurse at a clinic in South Kivu as saying: “Some of our patients come from 10km away to our health centre, on foot, bicycle, motorcycle or in a canoe if they live on the peninsula: most of them are ill with malaria.