Malaria is a preventable and treatable disease. The primary objective of treatment is to ensure complete cure, that is the rapid and full elimination of the Plasmodium parasite from the patient’s blood, in order to prevent progression of uncomplicated malaria to severe disease or death, and to chronic infection that leads to malaria-related anaemia. From a public health perspective, treatment is meant to reduce transmission of the infection to others, by reducing the infectious reservoir and by preventing the emergence and spread of resistance to antimalarial medicines.

Overview of malaria treatment

This section summarizes recommended policies for malaria treatment and lists all key WHO guidance documents.

Selection of safe and effective quality antimalarial medicines

WHO provides guidance on the procurement of antimalarial medicines and evaluates the quality of pharmaceutical products.

Antimalarial drug efficacy and drug resistance

Efficacious antimalarials are critical to malaria control. Continuous efficacy monitoring is needed to inform treatment policies and to ensure early detection of drug resistance.

Drug policies in all WHO regions

WHO maintains a list of medicines that are used as first-line treatment in endemic countries for uncomplicated and severe malaria, as well as for prevention and treatment during pregnancy.

Withdrawal of oral artemisinin-based monotherapies

The continued use of oral artemisinin-based monotherapies is a major contributing factor to the development of resistance to artemisinin and its derivatives.

RDT and ACT procurement and supply chain management

Procurement and supply chain management is a multi-stage process that ensures products of the right quality, dosage and price are available to end users at the right time.

Advisory committees on the prevention, treatment and diagnosis of malaria

A standing Technical Expert Group (TEG) and several time-limited Evidence Review Groups (ERG) have been convened to review the latest evidence and provide guidance and recommendations on the diagnosis and treatment of malaria.

Key publications

World malaria report 2019

This report contains the latest available data on malaria policies, interventions and trends in all endemic countries.

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Global Malaria Programme
World Health Organization
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Tel: +41 22 791 2533
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