Malaria Progress Endangered by Insecticide Resistance: WHO

The World Health Organization and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership have published an action plan to urge governments, researchers, and other partners to address what they call a "growing threat."

Major gains in recent years against malaria may be at risk because of insecticide resistance, which must be addressed soon, according to The Global Plan for Insecticide Resistance Management, which has been published by the World Health Organization and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership. It calls for governments of malaria-endemic countries, researchers, UN agencies, and other partners to follow a multi-year action plan to address the threat.

The plan was coordinated by the Global Malaria Programme and created after consultation with over 130 stakeholders representing constituencies of the malaria community.

Just four classes of insecticide are the basis for all WHO-recommended products for indoor residual spraying and used on nets, which are the two widely used malaria control strategies. The executive summary says at the time of the report's publication, resistance to at least one insecticide had been identified in 64 countries with ongoing malaria transmission, and resistance to pyrethroids, the best insecticides ever developed for public health use, seems to be most widespread.

If pyrethroids become ineffective, tens of thousands of children under five years of age will die of malaria who otherwise would have lived, the two organizations estimate.

Resistance genes spread rapidly in malaria vector populations over large areas, and resistance can evolve quickly, according to the executive summary. It also says current monitoring of insecticide resistance is inadequate and inconsistent in most settings.

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