ISLAMABAD (PPI) - The day of April 25 is to commemorate global efforts to control malaria. The theme of the fourth World Malaria Day is Achieving Progress and Impact - heralds the international communitys renewed efforts make progress towards zero malaria deaths by 2015. Malaria stakeholders will continue to report on the remaining challenges to reach the 2010 target of universal coverage of malaria treatment and prevention, as called for by the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon. World Malaria Day gives people the chance to promote or learn about the efforts made to prevent and reduce Malaria around the world. Reducing the impact of malaria is key to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, agreed by every United Nations Member State. These include not only combating the disease itself, but also goals related to womens and childrens rights and health, access to education and the reduction of extreme poverty. Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected mosquitoes. About half of the worlds population is at risk of malaria, particularly those in lower-income countries. It infects more than 500 million people each year and kills more than one million people, according to WHO. However, Malaria is preventable and curable. The World Health Assembly instituted World Malaria Day in May 2007. The purpose of the event is to give countries in affected regions the chance to learn from each others experiences and support one anothers efforts. The world must dramatically step up its existing efforts to conquer malaria if it is to reach the goal of near zero deaths from the disease which, despite being preventable and curable, currently kills almost 800,000 people every year by 2015, the United Nations warned on Sunday. Malaria is a leading killer of children under the age of five, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, where a child dies every 45 seconds on average from the disease. In total, around 781,000 people are estimated to die every year, and in some countries it accounts for one in five of all childhood deaths. The economic costs from malaria are also high. Malaria-related illnesses and mortality cost $12 billion each year in Africa alone, and shave as much as 1.3 per cent off the gross domestic product (GDP) of the worst affected countries. In 2009, about 3.3 billion people - half of the worlds population - were at risk of malaria. Every year, this leads to about 250 million malaria cases and nearly 800 thousand deaths. People living in the poorest countries are the most vulnerable. Malaria is a preventable and curable disease, yet a child dies of malaria every 45 seconds. Nearly one million people die of malaria every year, mostly infants, young children and pregnant women and most of them in Africa. Malaria does not only kill, it can have long term consequences. Men and women are unable to work for long periods when they or their children become ill. Entire households can be thrown back into poverty. Severe malaria often leads to brain damage, holding back a childs mental development resulting in lifelong impacts. But malaria can be treated effectively with existing drugs and treatment is most effective if administered within 24 hours of the onset of fever.