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Increased funding is needed to eliminate malaria across 22 Asia-Pacific countries and save an estimated 400,000 lives, according to research published in a new collection of studies on Wellcome Open Research.

© MORU 2019. Photographer: Nicky Almasy
A Cambodian child teaches his classmates what he's learned about malaria control, part of MORU's activities to raise community awareness in malaria-endemic areas of the importance of malaria prevention and the importance of early treatment. (c) MORU 2019. Photographer: Nicky Almasy.

Although Asia-Pacific countries have made significant progress towards their goal of eliminating malaria by 2030, collection researchers warn that stagnating donor funding puts at risk national malaria control efforts and access to lifesaving drugs and other tools, and could, under one potential scenario, result in as many as 845 million more malaria cases and 3.5 million deaths.

“This evidence-based investment case for the region comes from preliminary estimates to quantify the economic benefits of eliminating malaria, which could save hundreds of thousands of lives, avoid millions of malaria cases, and generate billions in healthcare savings, as well as savings from lost wages and productivity due to illness.” said collection advisor and study author Prof Richard Maude from the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU) in Bangkok.

“While the cost of eliminating malaria in the Asia Pacific is not insignificant, it will result in a large return on investment. For every additional dollar spent, there was predicted to be an overall economic benefit of USD $6 for the affected countries,” said lead study author Rima Shretta.

Read more (Nuffield Department of Medicine, Centre for Tropical Medicine & Global Health website)