Impact of the global malaria community

Between 2001 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.1

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

  • In 2016, an estimated 216 million cases of malaria occurred worldwide, compared with 237 million cases in 2010 and 211 million cases in 2015.

  • The incidence rate of malaria is estimated to have decreased by 18% globally, from 76 to 63 cases per 1,000 population at risk, between 2010 and 2016. The WHO South-East Asia Region recorded the largest decline (48%) followed by the WHO Region of the Americas (22%) and the WHO African Region (20%).

  • In 2016, there were an estimated 445,000 deaths from malaria globally, compared to 446,000 estimated deaths in 2015.

  • All regions recorded reductions in mortality in 2016 when compared with 2010, with the exception of the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region, where mortality rates remained virtually unchanged in the period. The largest decline occurred in the WHO regions of South-East Asia (44%), Africa (37%) and the Americas (27%).

  • Globally, more countries are moving towards elimination: in 2016, 44 countries reported fewer than 10,000 malaria cases, up from 37 countries in 2010.

  • Kyrgyzstan and Sri Lanka were certified by WHO as malaria free in 2016.
  • In 2016, WHO identified 21 countries with the potential to eliminate malaria by the year 2020. WHO is working with the governments in these countries – known as “E-2020 countries” – to support their elimination acceleration goals.

Despite this success, 2016 still witnessed 445,000 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.


1. World Malaria Report 2016

Source for all other figures: World Malaria Report 2017