15 Dec 2011

More funding needed to eliminate malaria deaths - WHO

5:21 am on 15 December 2011

The World Health Organisation says there is progress in the fight against malaria, but much more funding is needed to achieve its target of eliminating deaths from the disease by 2015.

WHO said international funding reached about $US1.7 billion in 2010 and $US2 billion in 2011.

But an estimated $US5 - $US6 billion is needed each year to achieve the target.

The estimated number of deaths from malaria dropped to 655,000 in 2010, 36,000 lower than in 2009.

The BBC reports malaria is a mosquito-borne illness that causes symptoms ranging from fever and headaches to coma and death. It is found mainly in tropical and subtropical areas.

Malaria is endemic in more than 100 countries, but can be prevented by the use of bed nets and indoor spraying to keep the mosquitoes that carry the disease at bay.

Total eradication of the disease could take another 40 - 50 years.