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What is Malaria?

What is Malaria?

Malaria is a preventable and treatable infectious disease transmitted by mosquitoes that kills more than 600,000 people each year, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa, where malaria is the leading cause of death for children under five. Because malaria is a global emergency that affects mostly poor women and children, malaria perpetuates a vicious cycle of poverty in the developing world.


Key facts about malaria


241 Million Global Cases

(95% confidence interval [CI]: 206 – 258 million).

Population at Risk

Half of the world population is at risk from malaria.

627,000 Deaths

96% of all malaria deaths occurred in the WHO African Region.

85 Countries & Territories

...reported indigenous malaria cases in 2020.




Malaria map

Malaria map

Malaria transmission continues to affect 85 countries and territories around the world, inflicting a tremendous burden on countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Nearly 300 million people in sub-Saharan Africa still lack access to a protective insecticide-treated net, and at least 15 million pregnant women do not receive the protective treatment they need to keep themselves and their unborn child healthy.


Funding for the global malaria response has plateaued since 2010, reaching US $3.3 billion in 2020 (less than half of the 2020 funding target). Malaria financing currently derives from three major sources: domestic financing, bilateral, and multilateral organisations. Most malaria financing is currently used for commodity procurement and out-of-pocket expenditure at personal and household levels.

Innovation to end malaria

Over the past decade roughly 1.1 Million lives have been saved through preventative measures such as drugs, insecticides and education on malaria. However, the malaria parasite is developing resistance to current drugs, and the mosquito vector is developing resistance to insecticides. Without innovative control tools and methodologies to improve the efficiency of current vector control practices and drug treatments, malaria eradication would be impossible.