25 April 2016 | Geneva – A year after the World Health Assembly resolved to eliminate malaria from at least 35 countries by 2030, WHO is releasing a World Malaria Day report that shows this goal, although ambitious, is achievable.
In 2015, all countries in the WHO European Region reported, for the first time, zero indigenous cases of malaria, down from 90 000 cases in 1995. Outside this region, 8 countries reported zero cases of the disease in 2014: Argentina, Costa Rica, Iraq, Morocco, Oman, Paraguay, Sri Lanka and United Arab Emirates.
Another 8 countries each tallied fewer than 100 indigenous malaria cases in 2014. And a further 12 countries reported between 100 and 1000 indigenous malaria cases in 2014.
The “Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016-2030”, approved by the World Health Assembly in 2015, calls for the elimination of local transmission of malaria in at least 10 countries by 2020. WHO estimates that 21 countries are in a position to achieve this goal, including 6 countries in the African Region, where the burden of the disease is heaviest.
Shining a spotlight on countries moving toward elimination of malaria
“Our report shines a spotlight on countries that are well on their way to eliminating malaria,” said Dr Pedro Alonso, Director of the WHO Global Malaria Programme. “WHO commends these countries while also highlighting the urgent need for greater investment in settings with high rates of malaria transmission, particularly in Africa. Saving lives must be our first priority.”
Since the year 2000, malaria mortality rates have declined by 60% globally. In the WHO African Region, malaria mortality rates fell by 66% among all age groups and by 71% among children under 5 years.
This fact sheet includes key estimates from the World Malaria Report 2015. The report draws on data from 95 countries and territories with ongoing malaria transmission, and a further 6 countries that have recently eliminated malaria.
Global disease burden in 2015
According to the latest estimates from WHO, there were 214 million new cases of malaria worldwide in 2015 (range 149–303 million). The African Region accounted for most global cases of malaria (88%), followed by the South-East Asia Region (10%) and the Eastern Mediterranean Region (2%).
In 2015, there were an estimated 438 000 malaria deaths (range 236 000–635 000) worldwide. Most of these deaths occurred in the African Region (90%), followed by the South-East Asia Region (7%) and the Eastern Mediterranean Region (2%).
Between 2000 and 2015, malaria incidence rates (new malaria cases) fell by 37% globally, and by 42% in Africa. During this same period, malaria mortality rates fell by 60% globally and by 66% in the African Region.
Other regions have achieved impressive reductions in their malaria burden. Since 2000, the malaria mortality rate declined by 72% in the Region of the Americas, by 65% in the Western Pacific Region, by 64% in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, and by 49% in the South-East Asia Region. For the first time, the European Region reported zero indigenous cases of malaria in 2015.
Children under five are particularly susceptible to malaria illness, infection and death. In 2015, malaria killed an estimated 306 000 under-fives globally, including 292 000 children in the African Region. Between 2000 and 2015, the mortality rate among children under five fell by 65% worldwide and by 71% in Africa.
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