On the occasion of World Malaria Day Friday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) launched a new guide to help countries to move towards malaria eradication.

The new guide provides countries with a comprehensive framework to assess different scenarios and timelines for moving towards elimination, depending on programme coverage and funding availability, Xinhua reported.

“Increased political commitment and the expansion of global malaria investments have saved some 3.3 million lives since 2000,” Margaret Chan, director-general of WHO, said in a statement.

Statistics showed that the malaria mortality rate around the world and the African region has dropped dramatically to 42 percent and 49 percent respectively since 2000.

However, WHO still estimated that as many as 207 million cases of malaria and over 600,000 deaths were reported in 2012.

The UN global health agency said that although many countries have the political will to commit to elimination of the disease, technical, operational and financial obstacles remained, particularly in countries and regions with a high disease burden.

The new guide will help countries and regions assess what resources they need to reduce malaria transmission to very low levels and provide them with essential knowledge for long term strategic planning for a malaria program.

Begun in 2007, World Malaria Day is an occasion to highlight the need for continued investment and sustained political commitment for malaria control and elimination.