About Malaria » Key facts about malaria

Key facts about malaria

228 Million Global Cases

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

Population at Risk

Half of the world population is at risk from malaria.

405,000 Deaths

93% of all malaria deaths occurred in the WHO African Region.

87 Countries & Territories

...reported indigenous malaria cases in 2017.


  • Globally, the elimination net is widening, with more countries moving towards zero indigenous cases: in 2018, 49 countries reported fewer than 10 000 such cases, up from 46 countries in 2017 and 40 countries in 2010. The number of countries with fewer than 100 indigenous cases – a strong indicator that elimination is within reach – increased from 17 countries in 2010, to 25 countries in 2017 and 27 countries in 2018.
  • Paraguay and Uzbekistan were awarded WHO certification of elimination in 2018, with Algeria and Argentina achieving certification in early 2019. In 2018, China, El Salvador, Iran, Malaysia and Timor-Leste reported zero indigenous cases.
  • In 2016, WHO identified 21 countries with the potential to eliminate malaria by the year 2020. WHO is working with the governments in these countries – known as “E-2020 countries” – to support their elimination acceleration goals.
  • In the six countries of the Greater Mekong subregion (GMS) – Cambodia, China (Yunnan Province), Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam – the reported number of malaria cases fell by 76% between 2010 and 2018, and malaria deaths fell by 95% over the same period. In 2018, Cambodia reported no malaria related deaths for the first time in the country’s history.

Required Health Expenditure

  • Although funding for malaria has remained relatively stable since 2010, the level of investment in 2018 is far from what is required to reach the first two milestones of the GTS; that is, a reduction of at least 40% in malaria case incidence and mortality rates globally by 2020, compared with 2015 levels.
  • To reach the GTS 2030 targets, it is estimated that annual malaria funding will need to increase to at least US$ 6.6 billion per year by 2020. 
  • US$ 663 million was invested in basic research and product development for malaria in 2018, an increase of US$ 18 million compared with 2017.
  • In 2018, 47% of total funding for malaria was invested in low-income countries, 43% in lowermiddle- income countries and 11% in upper-middle-income countries. International funding represented the major source of funding in low-income and lower-middle-income countries, at 85% and 61%, respectively. Domestic funding has remained stable since 2010.

Current Level of Coverage

  • Insecticide-treated mosquito nets: Between 2016 and 2018, a total of 578 million insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs), mainly LLINs, were reported by manufacturers as having been delivered globally, with 50% going to Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Nigeria, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. In 2018 about 197 million ITNs were delivered by manufacturers, of which more than 87% were delivered to countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Globally, 80% of ITNs were distributed through mass distribution campaigns, 10% in antenatal care facilities and 6% as part of immunization programmes.
  • Rapid diagnostic tests: An estimated 412 million RDTs were sold globally in 2018.
In 2018, 259 million RDTs were distributed by NMPs. Most RDTs (64%) were tests that detected P. falciparum only and were supplied to sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Artemisinin-based combination therapy: An estimated 3 billion treatment courses of artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) were procured by countries over the period 2010–2018. An estimated 63% of these procurements were reported to have been made for the public sector.
In 2018, 214 million ACT treatment courses were delivered by NMPs, of which 98% were in the WHO African Region.
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