Malaria infection rates in Africa have halved since 2000, preventing 663 million cases of the disease. The key? Oxford University scientists point to anti-malarial bed nets.
Researchers at the Malaria Atlas Project, which is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, calculated that bed nets were responsible for 68 percent of the averted cases.
Take a look at how bed net use has spread from 2000 to 2015. Already they’ve saved millions, mostly children under the age of 5:
Beautiful map showing progress against malaria—and how much work we still have to do. pic.twitter.com/IYkBQrZNiH
— Bill Gates (@BillGates) July 3, 2016
“These cheap and effective control measures have made a huge dent in African malaria,” says Pete Gething, the lead scientist of the Malaria Atlas Project. “What’s needed now is a redoubling of efforts to get the job done.”
Malaria causes about 214 million cases and an estimated 438,000 deaths worldwide.
In the United States, the President’s Malaria Initiative is the leading U.S. government program to combat the disease worldwide. Since 2000, the initiative has worked closely with local governments and organizations to distribute almost 200 million malaria-fighting nets.
“Our fight is not over,” said USAID Administrator Gayle Smith, who said that worldwide efforts can end malaria within a generation.