According to a recent World Malaria Report 2009 released by WHO last December, malaria along with TB continues to be one of the world's most lethal diseases with half the world's population - about 3.3 billion people at risk from it. Over 243 million confirmed cases of malaria were reported from across the world of which an estimated 863000 died. The biggest burden of malaria is borne by Africa with nearly 90% of cases most being children below 5 years.
In India while there has been proportional reduction in the number of cases, the numbers are still huge. From over 2 million reported cases in 2000 confirmed malaria cases dropped to about 1.53 million in 2009 according to provisional estimates of National Vector Borne Diseases Control Programme of the health ministry.
In the world malaria report, it is reported that the global funding for fighting malaria had jumped from a commitment of $ 300 million in 2003 to $ 1.7 billion in 2009.As a result coverage with insecticide treated nets increased from 17% to 31% while population covered by indoor residual spraying of insecticide increased from 14 million to 59 million.
In India one variety of malaria parasites was found to have developed resistance to choloroquine in 117 highly endemic districts of 7 north eastern states and AP, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, MP and Orissa. Starting from Cambodia and then from several pockets in other parts of the world, resistance to the new artemisinin based drugs has been reported. According to Lancet, there is currently no new drug class for treatment in advanced development. If resistance to artemisinin spreads, the global fight against malaria would be lost.