SHAFAQNA – About 85 percent of malaria cases are in the Muslim world, according to the head of an organisation working to eradicate the disease. At least 400,000 Muslims, mostly living in Africa, die from the disease each year, Dr Fatoumata Nafo-Traore, executive director of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM), said, according to the Saudi Gazette. There were 198m confirmed cases of malaria in 2013, including 584,000 deaths, according to the World Health Organisation.
“This means 1600 deaths each day,” Nafo-Traore was quoted as saying. “Roughly 85 percent of malaria cases are in the Muslim World. In those countries, there are 400,000 deaths each year.” Malaria is an entirely preventable and treatable mosquito-borne illness, according to WHO. Yet, in 2014, 97 countries and territories had ongoing malaria transmission and 3.3bn people are at risk of the disease. Nafo-Traore was in Saudi Arabia to attend a global conference to discuss how to fight the disease.
She urged further investment in the eradication of Malaria, claiming it caused a 1.3 percent GDP loss in malaria-infected countries each year. More than $4bn has been dedicated to malaria control and elimination projects since 2002, according to figures quoted by the Saudi Gazette. The number of malaria cases in Saudi Arabia has reportedly declined from 36,000 in 1998 to an estimated 35 cases today.
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