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By: United to Beat Malaria Team

What’s up with this new malaria study?

June 9, 2017
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Last night, a new study was published by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in The Lancet with some startling new figures concerning the number of malaria cases and deaths over the last 20 years. It can get a bit confusing, so we want to simplify for you here:

What did the study find?

The study suggests that there were more than 1.2 million deaths from malaria in 2010, which is double estimates from the World Health Organization’s World Malaria Report. The data also suggests that there are more deaths from malaria in people older than age five than we had previously thought. 

Why is this different from the statistics Nothing But Nets uses from the World Health Organization? 

It’s actually not that different. Nearly all of the findings match up with WHO’s research. The main difference is in the number of adults who are dying from malaria in Africa: WHO estimates 55,000 deaths and IHME estimates 435,000. It comes down to the fact that researchers used different methods used in tallying these totals, with the IHME study relying far more on data modeling based on incidences of fever in adults (even if there wasn’t a malaria diagnosis) than WHO’s research.

However, some key statistics haven’t changed:

  • The total number of deaths has fallen consistently since 2004 (thanks to the rapid scale-up of life-saving malaria control tools, like bed nets)
  • The percentage of all malaria deaths occurring in Africa – 91% – is the same 

So…what does this mean?

Well, we’ve still got a lot of work to do to end malaria deaths — because no matter how many deaths from this preventable disease occur each year, even one death is one too many. The fight against malaria needs continued commitment to funding the things that save lives: prevention tools (like bed nets), as well as treatment and diagnostics.

But here’s the good news that both studies have confirmed: malaria deaths — no matter how you look at it — are declining rapidly. That’s thanks to a scale up of funding for malaria prevention tools like bed nets from international partnerships like Roll Back Malaria, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, and the President’s Malaria Initiative. It’s also thanks to supporters like you, who have helped us send more than 6 million life-saving bed nets to families in Africa.

As we learn more, we’ll be sure to share it with you — we love having smart, informed Champions in the fight against malaria like you! Keep an eye on our blog, Facebook, and Twitter to stay informed.

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