Impact of the global malaria community

Between 2000 and 2015, the global malaria community helped avert 1.3 billion bouts of malaria illness and 6.8 million malaria deaths. This impressive progress was made possible thanks to the scale-up of control measures, like bed nets, insecticides, diagnostics and medicines, underpinned by increased political commitment, new regional initiatives and an rise in international financing. As a result Millennium Development Goal 6.C, to halt and begin to reverse the incidence of malaria by 2015, was achieved.

The World Malaria Report, the World Health Organization’s flagship malaria publication, highlights the following progress towards global targets:

  • In 2015, an estimated 212 million cases of malaria occurred worldwide, a fall of 22% since 2000 and of 14% since 2010.

  • In 2015, it was estimated that 429 000 deaths from malaria occurred globally, a decrease of 50% since 2000 and of 22% since 2010.

  • In 2015, 303 000 malaria deaths were estimated to have occurred in children aged under 5 years, equivalent to 70% of the global total. The number of malaria deaths in children aged under 5 years is estimated to have decreased by 60% since 2000 and by 29% since 2010.

  • The proportion of the population at risk in sub-Saharan Africa who are infected with malaria parasites is estimated to have declined from 22% in 2005 to 17% in 2010 and to 13% in 2015.

  • The number of people infected in sub-Saharan Africa is also estimated to have decreased, from 146 million in 2005 to 131 million in 2010 and to 114 million in 2015.

  • In 2015, it is estimated that 7 of the 43 countries in sub-Saharan Africa with malaria transmission had more than 25% of their population infected with malaria parasites (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Mali, Sierra Leone and Togo); this number has decreased from 12 countries in 2010.

  • Of 91 countries and territories with malaria transmission in 2015, 40 are estimated to have achieved a reduction in incidence rates of 40% or more between 2010 and 2015.

  • Malaria mortality rates are estimated to have declined by 62% globally between 2000 and 2015, and by 29% between 2010 and 2015.

  • A country must report zero indigenous cases of malaria for 3 consecutive years before it is considered to have eliminated the disease. Between 2000 and 2015, 17 countries attained zero indigenous cases for 3 years or more.

Despite this success, 2015 still witnessed 429,000 malaria deaths. We must not become complacent, or this tremendous progress will be reversed. Malaria remains a major cause and consequence of poverty – disproportionally affecting women and children. Eliminating and ultimately eradicating the disease would vastly improve the lives of many vulnerable families in the developing world, helping to lift them out of poverty.

The Global technical strategy for malaria 2016–2030, approved by the World Health Assembly in May 2015, sets ambitious but achievable targets for 2030. This strategy seeks to reduce the disease burden and eliminate malaria – objectives that are closely linked to several of the sustainable development goals, which call for action by all countries, poor, rich and middle-income to promote prosperity while protecting the planet.

Read more about the sustainable development goals.

Source for all figures: World Malaria Report 2016