WHO global health days

World Malaria Day

25 April 2017

World Malaria Day is an occasion to highlight the need for continued investment and sustained political commitment for malaria prevention and control.

A push for prevention

This year’s global theme for World Malaria Day is End Malaria for Good. In the lead-up to 25 April, WHO is shining a spotlight on prevention, a critical strategy for reducing the toll of a disease that continues to kill more than 400 000 people annually.

Since 2000, malaria prevention has played an important role in reducing cases and deaths, primarily through the scale up of insecticide-treated nets and indoor spraying with insecticides.

Across sub-Saharan Africa, where the disease is heavily concentrated, a greater share of the population is sleeping under insecticide-treated nets. In 2015, an estimated 53% of the population at risk slept under a treated net compared to 30% in 2010. In 20 African countries, preventive treatment for pregnant woman increased five-fold between 2010 and 2015.

In 2015, there were 212 million new cases of malaria and 429,000 deaths. One child dies from malaria every two minutes.

World Malaria Report 2016

Prevention scale-up is yielding results: According to the latest estimates from WHO, many countries with ongoing malaria transmission have reduced their disease burden significantly. On a global scale, new malaria cases fell by 21% between 2010 and 2015. Malaria death rates fell by 29% in the same 5-year period.

An unfinished agenda

However, the pace of progress must be greatly accelerated. WHO’s Global Technical Strategy for Malaria calls for a 40% reduction in malaria cases and deaths by 2020, compared to 2015 baseline levels. Less than half (40) of the world’s 91 countries with malaria transmission are on track to achieve these milestones. Progress has been particularly slow in low-income countries with a high malaria burden.

To speed progress towards these global targets, WHO is calling on malaria-affected countries and their development partners to boost investments in malaria prevention. In parallel, the Organization is calling for greater funding for the development, evaluation and deployment of new tools.

Robust investments in malaria prevention and in new tools will propel countries along the path to elimination while also contributing to other Sustainable Development Goals, such as improving maternal and child health.

With the required resources, and all partners united, we can transform our common vision – End Malaria for Good – into a shared reality.

Related links

Countdown to World Malaria Day, 25 April 2017