Africa: Malaria Facts and Figures

Woman taking a malaria test.

Global Malaria Burden & Impact

  • Malaria is caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female mosquitoes.
  • Around half the world' s population is at risk from malaria, and there were 216 million cases in 2016, 90% in Africa.
  • In 2016 there were over 445,000 malaria deaths, most of whom are children under-five and pregnant women.
  • A child still dies every 2 minutes from malaria
  • Malaria costs the African economy more than US$12 billion (£8) billion every year and accounts for up to 40% of a country' s healthcare spend.
  • Countries with high malaria rates see slowed annual economic growth (1.3% per year).
  • Malaria drains families'  earnings, taking up to 25% of a household' s income.
  • Malaria keeps more children out of school than any other disease and is responsible for up to half of all preventable school absenteeism in Africa.

Malaria in the Commonwealth

  • Malaria affects 90% of the Commonwealth population
  • The Commonwealth accounts for more than half of all global cases and deaths from malaria - one of the leading causes of childhood deaths across the Commonwealth
  • 46% of global malaria deaths in 2016 occurred in 8 Commonwealth countries. Half of these were in Nigeria.
  • Prevention & Treatement
  • Malaria is preventable and treatable. We have more tools now than ever before to prevent, diagnose and treat it. They are cheap and simple to use – the challenge is to make sure these tools get to the people that need them.
  • Insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs) are one of the most effective ways to prevent and help reduce illness and death from malaria.
  • Indoor residual spraying (IRS) - the process of spraying the inside of homes with an insecticide to kill mosquitoes that spread malaria - has shown impressive success in malaria reduction throughout the world.  
  • Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDT) - a simple dipstick test - give a quick and accurate diagnosis within 15-20 minutes and can be carried out in communities, rather than in labs meaning the right treatment can be given more rapidly. They cost less than 50p.
  • Artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) are a mix of drugs that are the most effective antimalarial medicines available today, costing less than £1 to save a child'  life.

Unprecedent Progress & Global Targets  

  • Since 2000, malaria deaths have been cut by more than 60%, saving 7 million lives.
  • 54% of African population are now sleeping under a bednet (increased from 30% in 2010).
  • Malaria is a smart investment and one of the best buys in global health. Malaria prevention returns £36 into society for every £1 invested.
  • The global malaria campaign has ambitious but achievable goals to reduce malaria deaths by a further 40% by 2020 and 90% by 2030, accelerating towards ending malaria for good.
  • Investing over US$100 billion in malaria could avert 3 billion malaria cases, save 10 million lives and generate US$4 trillion in economic outputs.

Progress at Risk

  • The latest World Malaria Report from the World Health Organisation (2017) was a wake-up call showing that the phenomenal year on year progress that has been made against malaria since 2000 has started to stall.
  • Whilst there has been an 18% cut in malaria case rates since 2010, the latest data shows a stalling of this trend as overall progress has slowed significantly, with an increase of 5 million cases in total since 2015.
  • Funding has plateaued with contributions totalling US$2.7billion in 2016. The US and UK remain the two largest international donors. Over half of all international funding (57%) was channelled through the Global Fund in 2016. 31% of total funding was from malaria affected country governments (US$800million).
  • More funding is urgently needed to increase access to proven life-saving tools for those in need as well as for R&D to develop and deploy the tools that will build on this success and help us stay one step ahead of the dual resistance threat.
  • The threat of insecticide resistance continues to grow, particularly in Africa. Some 61 of the 76 countries that tracked resistance, reported resistance to at least one insecticide.

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