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World Malaria Day 25 April 2020

21 Apr 2020

Every year World Malaria Day highlights the global efforts to control malaria. Invaluable progress has been made saving millions of lives, however, in recent years progress has slowed.

The World Health Organization’s (WHO)  World Malaria Report 2019, shows no global gains in reducing new infections between 2014 to 2018, and nearly as many people died from malaria in 2018 as in 2019. Sub-Saharan Africa continues to have the heaviest burden of malaria; in 2018, the region accounted for 93% of all cases. More than half of all cases were in 6 countries:

  • Nigeria (25% of cases)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo (12%)
  • Uganda (5%)
  • Côte d’Ivoire, Mozambique and Niger (4% each)

Campaign: Zero malaria starts with me

The “Zero malaria starts with me” campaign was first launched in Senegal in 2014 and was officially endorsed at the African Union Summit by all African Heads of State in July 2018. This campaign aims to engage all members of society:

  • Political leaders who control government policy decisions and budgets
  • Private sector companies that will benefit from a malaria-free workforce
  • Communities affected by malaria

Malaria in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The WHO has issued a statement urging malaria-affected countries not to scale back planned malaria prevention, diagnostic and treatment activities. Additional special measures may ease the burden on health systems in the context of COVID-19, such as presumptive malaria treatment and mass drug administration. The WHO statement also advises that these interventions must consider the importance of both lowering malaria-related mortality and ensuring the safety of communities and health workers.

Signs of Hope

Despite progress in the global response to malaria levelling off, a subset of countries with a low burden of malaria is moving quickly towards elimination. In 2018:

  • 49 countries reported fewer than 10 000 indigenous malaria cases, up from 40 countries in 2010
  • 27 countries reported fewer than 100 malaria cases, up from 17 countries in 2010
  • In 2019, Algeria and Argentina were certified malaria-free

Further information about malaria and its prevention can be found on in our malaria pages.