Experts challenge WHO with ‘epic’ goal to eradicate malaria by 2050

1 / 2
Municipal workers conduct anti-mosquito operations at a school in Secunderabad, the twin city of Hyderabad, on September 5, 2019. The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) is conducting an operation to combat water-borne diseases like dengue and malaria in the region. (AFP /Noah Seelam)
2 / 2
People meet with a nurse as they wait for consultations in the out-patient wing of the Government Gandhi Hospital in Secunderabad, the twin city of Hyderabad, on September 6, 2019, as patients flooded hospitals in Telangana with cases of dengue fever. (AFP / NOAH SEELAM)
Updated 09 September 2019
0

Experts challenge WHO with ‘epic’ goal to eradicate malaria by 2050

  • Disease “can and should be” stamped out within a generation
  • Says extra $2 billion per year needed to accelerate progress

LONDON: Malaria can be eradicated within a generation and the World Health Organization (WHO) should not shy away from this “goal of epic proportions,” global health experts said on Sunday.
In a major report that contradicted the conclusions of a WHO-led malaria review last month, 41 specialists said a future free of malaria — one of the world’s oldest and deadliest diseases — can be achieved as early as 2050.
To meet that target, however, governments, scientists and public health leaders need to inject more money and innovation into fighting the disease and the mosquitoes that carry it, the report said — something that will require “ambition, commitment and partnership like never before.”
“For too long, malaria eradication has been a distant dream, but now we have evidence that malaria can and should be eradicated by 2050,” said Richard Feachem, director of the Global Health Group at the University of California, San Francisco, who co-chaired a review of malaria eradication commissioned by The Lancet journal.
“We must ... challenge ourselves with ambitious targets and commit to the bold action needed to meet them,” he added.

FASTFACT

 

Malaria infected about 219 million people in 2017 and killed around 435,000 of them — the vast majority babies and children in the poorest parts of Africa

The Lancet Commission’s view comes a few weeks after the WHO published its own report on whether malaria can be wiped out, concluding that eradication cannot be achieved any time soon, and that setting unrealistic goals with unknown costs and endpoints could lead to “frustration and backlashes.”
In contrast to the Lancet Commission, the WHO report said the priority now should be to lay the groundwork for future eradication “while guarding against the risk of failure that would lead to the waste of huge sums of money (and) frustrate all those involved.”
The Lancet report, however, said that rather than slogging on with steadily reducing malaria cases — all the time under the threat of resurgence — global health authorities could “instead choose to commit to a time-bound eradication goal that will bring purpose, urgency and dedication” to the fight.
Malaria infected about 219 million people in 2017 and killed around 435,000 of them — the vast majority babies and children in the poorest parts of Africa. These totals are little changed from 2016, but global case numbers had previously fallen steadily from 239 million in 2010 to 214 million in 2015, and deaths from 607,000 to around 500,000 from 2010 to 2013.
“Malaria continues to strip communities around the world of promise and economic potential,” said Winnie Mpanju-Shumbusho, a Tanzanian doctor who co-chaired The Lancet Commission. She said malaria eradication was “a public health and equity imperative.”
To stamp out the disease by 2050, the report’s authors proposed three ways to speed up malaria’s decline.
Existing malaria-fighting tools such as bednets, medicines and insecticides should be used more smartly, it said, and new tools such as vaccines should be developed. Thirdly, governments in both malaria-affcted and malaria-free countries need to boost investment by about $2 billion a year to accelerate progress.


Celine Dion returns to Canada to kick off world tour

Updated 19 September 2019

Celine Dion returns to Canada to kick off world tour

  • The Grammy winner also recently announced the release of a new album titled “Courage”
  • She said in April that she felt motivated to create new music and hit the road after the 2016 death of her husband and manager

QUEBEC CITY: After living and crooning for years in Las Vegas, French-Canadian superstar Celine Dion returned home to Quebec to kick off her first world tour in a decade on Wednesday.
At 51, the Grammy winner also recently announced the release of a new album titled “Courage,” which will be her 12th in English and is due out on November 15.
The first single “Flying On My Own,” featuring her powerful vocals backed by techno beats, has already hit the airwaves, while three more dropped Wednesday: “Courage,” “Lying Down” and “Imperfections.”
Known for her blockbuster ballads, Dion said in April that she felt motivated to create new music and hit the road after the 2016 death of her husband and manager Rene Angelil.
“When I lost Rene, he wanted me back on stage. He wanted to make sure I was still practicing my passion,” she said. “I wanted to prove to him that I’m fine, we’re fine, we’re going to be OK. I’ve got this.”
So, after more than 1,140 concerts for 4.5 million fans over 16 years in Sin City, she bid adieu to the Colosseum at Caesars Palace with a final two-hour show.
“Courage is exactly the way I feel,” she told public broadcaster CBC at the time, talking up the upcoming tour of the same name.
“In the past three years, it has been difficult for me to talk to my children, to raise them, to lose my husband, wondering am I going to sing again... so much has happened, but at the same time I feel that I’m in control of my life.”
Some 60 dates in North American have been confirmed so far, her label said, with two arena shows in Quebec City on Wednesday and Saturday kicking off the tour, which will run through April 2020, and will be her first world tour since 2008-2009.
Her show was almost two hours of mastery, as she performed some of her greatest hits — from “I’m Alive” to “My Heart Will Go On” — as well as new material to an ecstatic crowd of roughly 20,000.
“It was really impossible to miss Celine at home,” Nicolas Delivre, a French university exchange student in Montreal, told AFP.
Donald Berard, from Quebec City, said he had grown up listening to Dion. “We love her like a member of our family.”
“Courage” marks the first album and tour in Dion’s long career without Angelil, who steered her success beginning in 1981 when he mortgaged his house to finance the young teen’s debut album.
The pair began a personal relationship in 1988 when she was only 19 years old, and married in a lavish ceremony in 1994. Angelil died of throat cancer at age 73.
In an interview with NBC’s Today show, Dion revealed that she longs for the hugs and laughs that come with a relationship, but added, “I’m not ready to date.”
The youngest of a family of 14 children raised in the suburbs of Montreal, Dion has sold 250 million copies of 23 studio albums in English and French, including collaborations with French singer-songwriter Jean-Jacques Goldman, Barbra Streisand and Stevie Wonder.
Back in Canada, she told the Montreal Gazette that the tour schedule was “a little crazy,” but that she had found time in advance to take in life’s small pleasures.
At a press junket last Friday, Dion told Radio-Canada: “There are good wines that age well, and there are good wines that age badly. I hope to be a good bottle of wine.”
“I’m not a new Celine,” Dion added. “I’m a continuity of myself.”