World’s malaria experts to meet in Senegal
Some 3000 of the world’s leading experts on malaria have begun arriving in Senegal.
They are attending a five-day conference focused on progress towards eradicating the disease.
It’s been 20 years since the first conference of the Multilateral Initiative on Malaria, which was also held in Senegal.
At the time, the prospect of eradicating the disease, which comes from a mosquito-borne parasite, seemed distant.
Now the World Health Organization (WHO) believes its elimination is within reach in six African countries – Algeria, the Comoros, Madagascar, The Gambia, Zimbabwe and Senegal.
Senegal has done particularly well, recording a 40% drop in mortality in the past 10 years.
But the advances have exposed a new challenge. Malaria is found in 91 countries in the world, but the vast majority of deaths happen in just 18 of them. And mortality has increased in Nigeria, Ivory Coast, South Sudan and the Central African Republic.
The WHO says more than 400,000 people die from malaria every year. Most are African children.