World Malaria Day 2018: Seven decades, seven voices in the global malaria fight

24 April 2018

On World Malaria Day, 25 April, WHO is calling for urgent action to get the global fight against malaria back on track.

According to the latest data from WHO, there were an estimated 216 million cases of malaria in 2016, marking a return to 2012 levels. Deaths stood at about 445 000, a similar number to 2015. Fifteen countries, all but one in sub-Saharan Africa, carry 80% of the global malaria burden.

To meet the 2030 global malaria targets, expanded coverage of proven tools that have already dramatically lowered the global burden of malaria is needed, combined with greater investments in the research and development of new tools.

“We call on countries and the global health community to close the critical gaps in the malaria response,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, in his World Malaria Day message. “Together, we must ensure that no one is left behind in accessing life-saving services to prevent, diagnose and treat malaria.”

Dr Tedros added that the gains made in the response could be lost unless all partners accelerate the pace of progress in fighting the disease.

WHO at 70: Seven decades of progress in malaria

WHO joins partner organizations in promoting this year’s World Malaria Day theme, “Ready to Beat Malaria”. In support of this theme, and to mark the 70th anniversary of WHO, the Organization’s Global Malaria Programme has prepared 7 interviews with leading voices in the global health community.

The diverse interviews highlight the advances made in tackling this centuries-old disease and touch upon the numerous challenges that remain in achieving a world free of malaria. The interviews – also available in audio format – feature:

Estimated malaria burden by WHO region in 2016

WHO Region Malaria cases Malaria deaths
African 194 million 407 000
Americas 875 000 650
Eastern Mediterranean 4.3 million 8200
South-East Asia 14.6 million 27 000
Western Pacific 1.6 million 3300
World 216 million 445 000