Annual malaria cases and deaths had to fall by at least 40 per cent by the year 2020, for global targets to be met, it said. "There is a real chance malaria could be eliminated, this year's World Malaria Report suggests, but only if funding increases..." The global toll of malaria deaths reached 445,000 in 2016, a similar number to that reported in 2015.
In his foreword in the report, WHO director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says from the time when malaria was among the big public health success stories, the overall decline in the global malaria burden has "unquestionably levelled off" and some countries are actually showing reversals in trends.
Nigeria, in turn, will need around 72 million additional LLINs and faces a funding gap of US$ 690 million between now and 2020 for procurement and delivery of essential commodities alone.
A major problem is insufficient funding at both domestic and worldwide levels, resulting in major gaps in coverage of insecticide-treated nets, medicines, and other life-saving tools.
According to figures available with the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, till September 2017, 673474 cases of malaria were reported in the country.
The 2017 World Malaria Report presents a comprehensive state of play in global progress in the fight against malaria.
The U.S. remains the largest global source of malaria financing, giving $1 billion, in 2016.
GETTY Images Malaria is transmitted by mosquitos
Between 2000 and 2015, funding and the widespread uptake of new effective tools like artemisinin-based therapies, better diagnostics and insecticide-treated bed nets, led to a 60 per cent decrease in malaria deaths.
Malaria is found in more than 100 countries, mainly in tropical regions of the world.
Pedro Alonso, Director of the Global Malaria Programme, commenting on the findings of this year's report, said the world is at a crossroads in the response to malaria and expressed the hope that this report would serve as a wake-up call for the global health community. In 2016, an estimated 54% of people at risk of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa slept under an ITN compared to 30% in 2010. Spraying insecticide inside homes is also effective.
Between 2014 and 2016, substantial increases in case incidence occurred in the WHO Region of the Americas, and marginally in the WHO Southeast Asia, Western Pacific and African regions.
The United States' commitment to combatting malaria - through the President's Malaria Initiative and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria - has been critical to the world's progress, representing 38% of global funding in the past year.
Governments in endemic countries provided $800 million, making up 31% of funding a year ago. Between 2014 and 2016, 39% of African children under the age of five who developed fevers were not taken to a trained health-care provider, the WHO report says, citing household surveys. WHO is now supporting malaria responses in Nigeria, South Sudan, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) and Yemen, where ongoing humanitarian crises pose serious health risks. Madagascar, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, and The Gambia registered reductions in the number of malaria cases previous year. Meeting the global malaria targets will only be possible through greater investment and expanded coverage of core tools that prevent, diagnose and treat malaria.
"More investment is needed to increase the effectiveness of current tools and hasten development of new tools such as next generation insecticides, drugs and vaccines to stay ahead of rising resistance", said Dr. Altaf Lal, Senior Advisor on Global Health and Innovation, Sun Pharmaceuticals Industries and RBM Partnership to End Malaria Board Member.