By NBF News

THE United Nation's massive scale-up in malaria control programmes between 2008 and 2010 has produced a huge result in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a new report by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

According to the report, the scale-up resulted in the provision of adequate insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs) to protect more than 578 million people at risk of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa.

New study shows that indoor residual spraying has also protected 75 million people, or 10 per cent of the population at risk in 2009.

The world malaria report 2010 describes the drive to provide access to anti-malarial interventions to all those who need them.

According to WHO, there is a downward trend in malaria on the African continent. A total of 11 countries showed a greater than 50 per cent reduction in either confirmed malaria cases or malaria admissions and deaths over the past decade.

A decrease of more than 50 per cent in the number of confirmed cases of malaria was also found in 32 of the 56 malaria-endemic countries outside Africa during this same time period, while downward trends of 25 per cent to 50 per cent were seen in eight additional countries.

The Director-General of WHO certified Morocco and Turkmenistan in 2009 as having eliminated malaria. In 2009, the WHO European Region reported no cases of Plasmodium falciparum malaria for the first time.

The WHO Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan, highlighted the transformation that is taking place. 'The results set out in this report are the best seen in decades. After so many years of deterioration and stagnation in the malaria situation, countries and their development partners are now on the offensive. Current strategies work,' he said.

The UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Malaria, Ray Chambers added: 'The phenomenal expansion in access to malaria control interventions is translating directly into lives saved, as the WHO World malaria report 2010 clearly indicates.

'The strategic scale-up that is eroding malaria's influence is a critical step in the effort to combat poverty-related health threats. By maintaining these essential gains, we can end malaria deaths by 2015,' he said.