About Malaria » Key Facts

Key Facts

219 Million Global Cases

(95% confidence interval [CI]: 203 – 262 million).

Population at Risk

Half of the world population is at risk from malaria.

435,000 Deaths

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

87 Countries & Territories

...reported indigenous malaria cases in 2017.


  • Globally, more countries are moving towards elimination: in 2017, 46 countries reported fewer than 10 000 malaria cases, up from 44 countries in 2016.
  • Paraguay were certified by WHO as malaria free in 2018, while Algeria, Argentina and Uzbekistan have made formal requests to WHO for certification. In 2017, China and El Salvador 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 of these countries – known as “E-2020 countries” to support their elimination acceleration goals.
  • Although 11 E-2020 countries remain on track to achieve their elimination goals, 10 have reported increases in indigenous malaria cases since 2017 compared with 2016.

Required Health Expenditure

  • Although funding for malaria has remained relatively stable since 2010, the level of investment in 2017 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. 
  • Stepping up investments in malaria research and development is key to achieving the GTS targets. In 2016, US$ 588 million was spent in this area, representing 85% of the estimated annual need for research and development.
  • Although research and development funding for malaria vaccines and drugs declined in 2016 compared with 2015, investments in vector control products almost doubled, from US$ 33 million to US$ 61 million.

Current Level of Coverage

  • Insecticide-treated mosquito nets: Between 2015 and 2017, a total of 624 million insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs), mainly long lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs), were reported by manufacturers as having been delivered globally. This represents a substantial increase over the previous period 2012–2014, when 465 million ITNs were delivered globally. An estimated 552 million ITNs were distributed by NMPs globally, with most (459 million or 83%) being delivered in sub-Saharan Africa over the period 2015–2017.
Globally, 85% of ITNs were distributed through free mass distribution campaigns, 8% in antenatal care facilities and 4% as part of immunization programmes.
  • Rapid diagnostic tests: An estimated 276 million rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) were sold globally in 2017.
In 2017, 245 million RDTs were distributed by NMPs. Most RDTs (66%) were tests that detected P. falciparum only and were supplied to sub-Saharan Africa.
In sub-Saharan Africa, RDTs are becoming increasingly the most used method to test for malaria diagnosis among suspected malaria patients in public health facilities. In 2017, an estimated 75% of malaria tests were conducted using RDTs, up from 40% in 2010.
  • Artemisinin-based combination therapy: An estimated 2.74 billion treatment courses of artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) were procured by countries over the period 2010–2017. An estimated 62% of these procurements were reported to have been made for the public sector.
During the period 2010–2017, 1.45 billion ACT treatment courses were delivered by NMPs, of which 1.42 billion (98%) were in the WHO African Region.
With increases in diagnostic testing in recent years, ACT treatment courses are becoming more targeted towards patients who tested positive for malaria. This is demonstrated by a substantially reduced ratio of ACTs to tests (0.8 in 2017 compared with 2.5 in 2010).
Nevertheless, this implies that an estimated 30% of patients who received ACTs were not tested for malaria.