A new study from the Institute for Health Metrics and published in the Lancet shows that Malaria has killed more than 1.2 million people a year. That is nearly 50% above previous estimates. The Daily Star reports:
But there is also good news: deaths from the mosquito-borne disease have in fact been falling sharply thanks to access to better drugs and insecticide-treated nets.
Published in The Lancet on Friday, the study by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, Seattle, says malaria killed at least 1.2 million people worldwide in 2010.
The estimate will be a likely shock for health policymakers. Only last September the UN-backed Roll Back Malaria (RBM) calculated mortality in 2009 at 781,000.
The higher figure, say the US researchers, derives from wider and more reliable data, including use of a technique called “verbal autopsy”.
Under this, investigators interview relatives of someone who has recently died in order to help pinpoint the cause of death. In many poor countries which lack medical infrastructure, mortality is often poorly probed or misidentified.
The new study skewers the belief that the overwhelming majority of malaria deaths occur among the under-fives.
In 2010, more than 78,000 children aged five to 14, and more than 445,000 aged 15 or older, died of malaria, together accounting for 42 percent of the total.