Possible to defeat malaria, but probably not soon



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From VOA Learning English, here is the report on health and lifestyle.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says that it is possible to defeat malaria, although this is unlikely to happen with current methods.

Pedro Alonso heads the United Nations agency's global malaria program. He says that the WHO wants eradicate the disease, but "with the tools we have today, it is unlikely that eradication will be achieved".

Alonso spoke last week by presenting the results of a three-year study on the fight against the disease.

Malaria infected about 219 million people in 2017. That year, about 435,000 people died as a result of the disease. The vast majority were babies and children from the poorest regions of Africa. These totals have changed little compared to 2016. But they are lower than the 239 million infections and 607,000 deaths reported in 2010.

Abdourahmane Diallo heads the RBM Malaria Partnership. The group issued a statement from him on the WHO report. "Today, there are more malaria-free countries than ever before, and more countries than ever before have fewer than 10,000 malaria cases, thus elimination at hand. "

Diallo noted that in some areas, cases of malaria are increasing, which shows the need rekindle and accelerate progress".

WHO officials have long wanted to destroy malaria. The UN agency first attempted a campaign against the disease in 1955 before suspending it in the 1960s. Now the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is providing financial support for the latest efforts.

An Anglogold Ashanti Malaria Ltd employee sprays the walls of a home with a mosquito repellent on May 2, 2018 in Adansi Domeabra, near Obuasi, in the Ashanti region.

An Anglogold Ashanti Malaria Ltd employee sprays the walls of a home with a mosquito repellent on May 2, 2018 in Adansi Domeabra, near Obuasi, in the Ashanti region.

Tools for fighting malaria

A number of drugs are available to successfully treat malaria. Sleeping under a chemically treated bed netting It has proven effective in combating mosquitoes and malaria-carrying infections.

The pharmaceutical company GSK has also developed a vaccine that has been shown to be partially effective against malaria. The vaccine is currently used in Ghana and Malawi.

The WHO report indicates, however, that these tools will not be enough to end the threat of malaria. It calls for research and development oftransformer tools and knowledge "to fight mosquitoes and create more effective drugs to prevent and treat the disease.

The report indicates that less than 1% of international funding for health research and development now goes to developing tools for malaria control.

"Our priority … should be to establish the foundation for a successful future eradication effort while guarding against the risk of failure that would waste huge sums of money … ", says the report.

A pygmy man from the Bagyeli tribe shows plants used for traditional malaria treatment on May 26, 2017 in the Kribi region of Cameroon.

A pygmy man from the Bagyeli tribe shows plants used for traditional malaria treatment on May 26, 2017 in the Kribi region of Cameroon.

Has a disease already been eradicated?

Smallpox is the only human disease that has been eradicated. Thanks to the success of vaccinations, the WHO declared the disease eradicated in 1980. Since then, no natural cases of smallpox have been reported.

In 1988, WHO and its health partners launched an international campaign against polio by the year 2000. However, even with billions of dollars invested, the efforts made have repeatedly failed to meet the objectives of WHO. eradication.

"An effective vaccine is something we desperately need if we want to control malaria and we just do not have it," said Alister Craig of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.

Craig asked if malaria control programs would be able to raise the necessary funds given other competing eradication campaigns, including those related to polio and guinea worm.

Sian Clarke is co-director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine's Malaria Center. She says that since mosquitoes spread malaria by infecting people with a parasite, eradication will only be possible if there is a sense of urgency.

"The longer it takes, the more opportunity the parasite must evolve, "she said. "So it's something that if it had to be done, it should be done fairly quickly."

And that's the report on health and lifestyle.

I am Anna Matteo.

Hai Do adapted this story for VOA Learning English with reports from Reuters and the Associated Press. George Grow was the publisher.

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Words in this story

eradicate – v. eliminate or destroy something harmful

elimination – not. the act or process of removing something or someone

rekindle – v. give a new life or energy to something

accelerate – v. to make something happen sooner or faster

net – not. a device used to catch or keep something

transformer – adj. causing or capable of causing a change

foundation – not. something like an idea that supports something

opportunity – not. luck

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