Shocking New Worldwide ‘Guesstimates’ of Malaria Deaths

A new World health study published in the ‘Lancet,’ a British Medical Journal, says the true number of deaths from malaria is probably nearly double previous estimates in World Health Organization (WHO) reports. The shocking new ‘guesstimate’ is 1 million, 240 thousand people dead following mosquito stings in 2010. The WHO said the number was 655 thousands. On the positive side all reports say the malaria mortality rate is falling.

The Gates Foundation

The new study is funded by the Gates Foundation and uses both previously unseen data and computer modeling to improve our historical evidence from the 30 years, 1980 to 2010. The rising mortality rate for malaria to 2004 was caused by increasing populations at risk, while the decline since then is all about international aid efforts to fight the disease. The young children of Africa have always been most at risk but the new census data sees larger numbers of deaths, just under 440,000, among older kids and grown ups than in the previous WHO estimates.

Malaria Life Cycle CDC

Myths About Malaria

The new survey has exploded a myth about malaria. It has long been thought that children that survive a childhood infection go on to develop immunity in adulthood, but this is demonstrably not so according to the records included in this study. The study also concludes that ending malaria in the short-term is not a realistic goal. At the present rate of decline from the peak numbers of 2004, the annual mortality rate will not fall below 100 thousand for another 8 o 9 years.

Currently there are no reliable actual figures for pattern of malaria in the regions of the World where it wreaks havoc. What figures there are, are all estimates. The new study has included additional statistical tables from a diversity of authoritative sources. They have  refined models to give much more realistic numbers that overcome the inadequacy of the previous data. New sources of data include, transmission rates, access to health care, drug resistance levels and bed net availability.

The Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis

Obviously the increased death toll is very bad news but the flip side good news is that the disease definitely can be controlled. It is only since the Fund to Fight AIDS, malaria and TB began to take effect in 2004 that we have seen the one-third improvement in mortality rates.

Over the last 10 years 230,000,000 malaria sufferers have been treated and an equal number of mosquito bed nets have been put into the hardest hit regions. The improvement has been the result of all this money and effort. With greater and continuous effort malaria can be eradicated eventually.

The true malaria picture will become increasingly clear thanks to new fast diagnosis methods implemented by the WHO in 2010. The major readjustment to the numbers came from the proper assignment of ’cause of deaths’ that had previously been wrongly classified and caused the under statement of malaria deaths by a huge 21%.

Claire Al-Aufi

Claire Al-Aufi is a contributing author for Hive Health Media who provides updates on health and fitness news.

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