25th April is celebrated as World Malaria Day each year. This year, the theme is “Ready to beat malaria“, and emphasizes the collective energy and commitment of the global malaria community in uniting around the common goal of a world free of malaria.
In 2016, there were 216 million cases of malaria in 91 countries, 5 million more than the 211 million cases reported in 2015. This marks a return to 2012 levels.
Malaria continues to claim a significant number of lives: in 2016, 445 000 people died from malaria globally, compared to 446 000 estimated deaths in 2015.
The African Region continues to bear 90% of malaria cases and 91% of malaria deaths worldwide.
Nigeria, the continent’s most populous country, accounted for 27% of malaria cases and 24% of malaria deaths globally in 2016.
Children under 5 are particularly susceptible to malaria. The disease claims the life of a child every 2 minutes.
Since 2010, 6 countries have been certified malaria-free
- Sri Lanka and
The global response to malaria is at a crossroads. After an unprecedented period of success in malaria control, progress has stalled.
The current pace is insufficient to achieve the 2020 milestones of the WHO Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016-2030 – specifically, targets calling for a 40% reduction in malaria case incidence and death rates.
Countries with ongoing transmission are increasingly falling into one of 2 categories:
- those moving towards elimination and
- those with a high burden of the disease that have reported significant increases in malaria cases.
Funding for malaria control and elimination efforts has stagnated since 2010, with US$ 2.7 billion invested in malaria programmes globally in 2016. This amount represents less than half (41%) of the estimated US$ 6.5 billion needed annually by 2020 in order to reach the 2030 global malaria targets.
Insufficient funding at both domestic and international levels has resulted in major gaps in coverage of insecticide-treated nets, medicines and other critical life-saving tools.
For vector control, new interventions that target outdoor-biting mosquitoes are being explored.
New chemical formulations to mitigate the threat of insecticide resistance are under development, as are new strategies to improve the delivery of treated nets and indoor spraying.
Malaria vaccine RTS,S
Later this year, the world’s first malaria vaccine will be rolled out in selected areas of Ghana, Kenya and Malawi. The RTS,S vaccine is the only vaccine, to date, to show partial protection against malaria among young children in large-scale clinical trials.
Link to World Malaria Day 2018 web page:
Link to WHO infographics on malaria:
Link to WHO fact sheet on Malaria (updated April 2018):
Link to Statement by WHO Director-General on World Malaria Day 2018: