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Laos may fail to eradicate malaria by 2030 without adequate prevention: local media

Xinhua, April 25, 2017 Adjust font size:

Laos aims to eradicate malaria by 2030 but it may not achieve the target if people do not follow preventive measures like sleeping under insecticide-treated nets, local daily Vientiane Times reported Tuesday.

"The best way to prevent malaria infection is to avoid mosquito bites, sleeping under insecticide-treated nets and taking medicine for malaria, under a physician's advice, by tourists and those who find it necessary to visit malaria risk zones," Lao Health Minister Bounkong Syhavong said on Monday in a press conference to mark World Malaria Day, annually observed on April 25.

These examples have enabled the incidences of malaria to be reduced in Laos year-on-year while keeping the malaria incidences in the country under control.

In 2015, there were 36,056 cases of malaria infection, resulting in two deaths. In 2016, the number of malaria infections was 16,528 people and one death, a reduction of 54 percent as compared to 2015. However, drug resistant cases had increased by 10 percent in 2013 and 14 percent in 2015, especially in Champassak, Xekong and Attapeu provinces in the country's south.

Even though the number of malaria cases has decreased, officials suggest that preventive measures still must be continued.

World Malaria Day was created to remind of the need for continued investment and a sustained political commitment for malaria prevention and control. The global theme for 2017 is "End Malaria for Good" which captures the common vision of a malaria free world.

This year, the WHO has placed a special focus on prevention which has played an important role in reducing malaria cases and deaths, primarily through the scale up of insecticide-treated nets and indoor spraying with insecticides.

Globally, malaria kills more than 400,000 people annually, although the number has been falling by about 29 percent from 2010 to 2015. New malaria cases fell by 21 percent but it still accounted for 212 million new cases in 2015. According to the World Malaria Report in 2016, one child dies from malaria every two minutes. Endit