Skip to main content
World Malaria Day, marked each year on 25 April, is an occasion for the global malaria community to come together to highlight global efforts to end malaria and the need for sustained political commitment and continued investment for malaria control and elimination. This World Malaria Day, the RBM Partnership to End Malaria will unite under the theme Advance Equity. Build Resilience. End Malaria.

In 2022, the fight against malaria faces new and growing challenges. Better data confirms the global malaria burden is higher than previously estimated and COVID-19 and other challenges such as increasing drug and insecticide resistance and humanitarian emergencies led to an increase in malaria deaths for the first time in over a decade. We must act now and increase investments to save more lives, advance health equity and achieve stronger, more resilient health systems on our way to ending this preventable and treatable disease that is killing a child every minute.

For the first time this century we are better prepared to achieve better results. Thanks to new strategies and newer tools, countries can be smarter in how they fight malaria – using data and disease monitoring to target the right mix of tools to stop transmission, prevent malaria cases and save more lives. With increased funding, countries are poised to drive a rapid decline in high burden countries, continue elimination in lower burden countries and ensure these efforts serve as a pathway for pandemic preparedness. 

The fight against malaria is at a precarious juncture. Yet, in 2022, ahead of the Global Fund’s Seventh Replenishment and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, we have a unique opportunity to drive much needed political and funding commitments to end malaria, improve economic growth, and prepare for future health threats. Achieving the Global Fund Replenishment target of at least US$18 billion is estimated to save 20 million lives from malaria, HIV and tuberculosis, reduce malaria cases and deaths by more than 60% and eliminate malaria from at least six countries by 2026. 

Let’s fight for what counts this World Malaria Day, to get back on track to end malaria and achieve a safer, more equitable world! 

Key messages

About World Malaria Day

World Malaria Day, marked each year on 25 April, is an occasion for the global malaria community to come together to highlight global efforts to end malaria and the need for sustained political commitment and continued investment for malaria control and elimination.

Achieving a fully resourced Global Fund 

Mobilizing the Global Fund Replenishment target of at least US$18 billion will save 20 million lives from malaria, HIV and TB and reduce cases of malaria by 66%, cut malaria deaths by 62% and eliminate malaria from at least six countries by 2026, according to Global Fund estimates. 

  • A fully resourced Global Fund is critical to ending malaria, advancing health equity, and building resilient health systems. 

    • The Global Fund mobilizes and invests funding that accounts for 56% of malaria programme financing across 94 countries.

    • Since 2002, the Global Fund has saved over 44 million lives, reduced the burden of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis by 40%, and strengthened health systems in the world’s most vulnerable communities. 

    • We will save 20 million more lives and avert over 450 million cases or infections across the three diseases by reaching the Global Fund’s target of at least US$18 billion for the next three-year cycle.

  • Today, the malaria fight is at a precarious juncture and half the world’s population remains at risk of the disease. The global malaria burden is much higher than previously estimated, insecticide and drug resistance is growing, humanitarian emergencies are contributing to malaria transmission and the impact of COVID continues to impact countries.  

  • Malaria investments are a pathfinder for pandemic preparedness and response. Increased investment in the Global Fund offers one of the best opportunities we have to accelerate progress against malaria, help countries continue to build resilient and sustainable health systems, and strengthen country capacity to fight this pandemic and be prepared for the next one.

  • Key to the Global Fund’s success is developing and implementing innovative solutions and establishing strong country partnerships to solve tough global health challenges. A fully replenished Global Fund for 2024-2026 would allow us to harness innovation to save more lives and maximize impact to bring the world closer to ending malaria.

  • A fully replenished Global Fund will help high burden and low burden countries accelerate progress toward 2030 global goals and achieve a more equitable world. The Global Fund’s malaria programmes are critical to improving economic growth, advancing gender equality, expanding access to life-saving malaria health care, and ensuring people can thrive in malaria-free communities.

Harnessing innovation, including new breakthrough tools and real-time data to scale up and optimize lifesaving malaria interventions 

The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced how investing in real-time data is vital to effectively fight an infectious disease. Countries’ increased adoption of data-driven decision making and tailoring approaches to optimize the use of malaria interventions to local contexts will help drive malaria cases and deaths back down in high burden countries.

  • By championing the ‘High Burden to High Impact’ country-led approach, using high quality, local data, countries can better target malaria interventions district-by-district to maximize impact and make the best use of limited resources to address the challenges and epidemiological context specific to each district. 

  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, The Global Fund, the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative and the RBM Partnership to End Malaria collaborated with national governments and partners to use real-time data to avoid widespread stockouts of life-saving malaria medicines and rapid diagnostic tests. These investments helped to mitigate the impact of COVID disruptions on malaria prevention and treatment campaigns. 

  • In 2021, WHO recommended the RTS,S vaccine for widespread use among children under 5 at risk of malaria which has the potential to save tens of thousands of lives per year when used in targeted high burden settings in combination with recommended vector control tools. 

  • A second vaccine candidate, R21 has delivered promising results in Phase 2 trials.

  • In December 2021, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance approved funding for a malaria vaccine programme that will enable the rollout of RTS,S and future vaccines as they become available.

  • Kozenis (tafenoquine), a single-dose, radical cure of Plasmodium vivax for children aged 2 years and above from GSK and the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), has been approved by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in combination with chloroquine.  

  • In 2018, The Global Fund, UNITAID, and the Innovative Vector Control Consortium (IVCC) co-financed the piloting of the New Nets Project, with support from the US President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  

    • In 2019, the Gates Foundation, MedAccess and BASF co-financed the purchase of 35 million dual-insecticide treated nets (Interceptor® G2) over the course of four years through the New Nets Project, reducing the cost by an average of 40%.

    • In March, a study found that dual-insecticide treated nets treated with both chlorfenapyr and pyrethroid reduced the prevalence of malaria by 43% and 37% in the first and second year respectively, compared to the standard net treated with pyrethroid only.

Advancing a robust pipeline of innovative tools

Despite this progress, the current set of existing and new tools will not be enough to eradicate malaria, especially as growing insecticide and drug resistance threaten mosquito control and therapeutic efficacy of antimalarials. Years of research and development in transformative tools have resulted in a robust malaria innovation pipeline that aims to tackle these challenges and accelerate the rate of rapid decline in malaria cases and deaths, and end malaria within a generation. We need ongoing investment in these transformative tools.

  • In August 2021, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other US agencies published the results of the first phase 1 clinical trial of a monoclonal antibody for preventing malaria, with a phase 2 trial underway in Mali.

  • In July 2021, the kENUP Foundation and BioNTech announced a major project to develop the first mRNA-based prophylactic malaria vaccine. The clinical trial for the first-generation mRNA malaria vaccine candidate is planned to start by the end of 2022.

  • Attractive Targeted Sugar Bait (ATSB®) devices from Westham - which attract mosquitos to an insecticide - are currently undergoing trials in Kenya, Zambia and Mali, and are projected to be market-ready in 2023/2024. 

  • Research suggests use of genetically modified mosquitoes could also be a powerful and cost-effective approach to supplement existing interventions. In May 2021, new guidance from the World Health Organization set essential standards to inform future research and development on genetically modified mosquitoes, particularly addressing issues relating to ethics, safety, affordability and effectiveness.

  • Genetic disease monitoring systems with improved parasite and mosquito genetic sequencing can track the emergence of resistance to new and existing tools in close to real-time. With support from the Global Fund and governments, countries are now implementing these new disease monitoring techniques to improve disease monitoring, for example by the KEMRI institute in Kenya. 

Activating new champions

  • An inclusive, multisectoral response is required to control, eliminate and ultimately eradicate malaria. 

    • End Malaria Councils and Funds have been or will be established in 24 African countries, convening leaders from all sectors and levels to drive increased advocacy, action, and resource mobilisation for malaria control and elimination efforts.

  • Today’s youth are the generation that can be vocal advocates in calling for countries to stay committed and prioritize ending malaria:

    • The RBM Partnership’s “Draw the Line Against Malaria” campaign, launched in 2021, is inspiring African youth to drive unstoppable action in countries with the highest burden of malaria until they reach zero malaria.

    • A cadre of youth leaders have been mobilised in Kenya to steer action and build a formidable malaria youth army, led by H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya and Chair of the African Leaders’ Malaria Alliance (ALMA). 

Building stronger health systems

Ending endemic diseases like malaria is the pathway to strengthening health systems and building country capacity to prevent, detect and respond to pandemics.

  • Through rapid mobilization for logistics, testing and awareness-raising, malaria programmes rapidly stepped up during the pandemic to stop the spread of COVID-19 around the world. Such tactics were observed across the Commonwealth in countries like Zambia, Mozambique, Uganda and Pakistan, and Francophone Africa, for example in Benin and Burkina Faso. 

  • Community health workers in malaria-endemic regions are playing a key role in screening for COVID-19 and promoting prevention and containment in rural settings.

Increasing disease monitoring 

Innovations in data and disease monitoring have been crucial in the COVID-19 response. Scaling up existing disease monitoring tools, as well as the introduction of more innovative tools, is needed to maintain progress against malaria.

  • Investments to end malaria have strengthened lab capacity and disease monitoring infrastructure in malaria-affected countries can quickly test and detect malaria as well as the spread of new diseases

  • In many countries, for example Uganda, frontline workers have adopted the use of digital tools to report into disease monitoring systems during the COVID-19 pandemic

  • In recent years, innovative genetic monitoring systems with improved parasite and mosquito genetic sequencing have been used to track the emergence of resistance to new and existing tools in close to real-time

  • Border disease monitoring and collaboration with neighbouring countries through regional malaria control initiatives were key factors for China and El Salvador achieving malaria-free certification in 2021.

Mobilizing new funding

As we head towards the Global Fund’s Seventh Replenishment in 2022 and as countries continue to make critical funding decisions, leaders must mobilize new funding for the malaria fight to save millions more lives, accelerate much-needed progress and facilitate an earlier end to malaria.

  • The Global Fund’s innovative approaches to partnerships, financing, and catalytic investments resulted in a 45% drop in malaria deaths between 2002 and 2019. Achieving the Replenishment target of at least US$18 billion for the next three-year cycle will save 20 million more lives from malaria, HIV and tuberculosis. For malaria programs, meeting the full replenishment target will prevent over 450 million malaria cases and reduce malaria deaths by 62% by 2026.

  • 24 countries have established, or are in the process of establishing, national End Malaria Councils and Funds to drive multisectoral support for the fight against malaria.

    • In 2021, EMCs mobilised millions of USD of financial and in-kind support for the fight against malaria, including pledges of $3.5 million USD in Mozambique, more than $1 million USD in Zambia, $445,000 USD in Uganda, with additional pledges and funding in Kenya and Eswatini. 

    • In total, EMCs and Funds have raised $17.8 million in additional resources towards the malaria proving themselves to be effective mechanisms to fund existing resource gaps in National Malaria Control Programmes.

  • Since 2020, 5 African countries have introduced the Zero Malaria Business Leadership Initiative to foster domestic resource mobilisation and drive private sector engagement for the fight against malaria in Africa

    • This World Malaria Day, Ghana has adopted the Zero Malaria Business Leadership Initiative to engage the private sector in the country’s efforts to fight malaria

  • The Regional Malaria Elimination Initiative was created in 2017 to secure a mix of grant and concessional credit funding for collaborative programs to eliminate malaria across Mesoamerica and the Dominican Republic.

Increasing country ownership 

Success against malaria requires simultaneous high-level political support, more funding, the involvement of the private sector, and community ownership. It also requires taking a district-by-district approach to optimize the use of the right set of interventions to the local context and tracking progress to hold countries accountable to progress. 

  • Over 25 countries have adopted the Zero Malaria Starts with Me movement at a national level since 2018, mobilizing and empowering communities to take ownership over the fight to end malaria. 

    • This World Malaria Day, Zimbabwe and Guinea Bissau are launching national Zero Malaria Starts with Me campaigns.

    • In the past year, the campaign has also been adopted in Cameroon, Namibia, Mali and Malawi. 

  • 40 African Union Member States have implemented national malaria scorecards, action trackers and workplans to enhance accountability, transparency and action. Since 2021, ALMA and the RBM Partnership to End Malaria have also supported the implementation of malaria scorecards with Africa’s Regional Economic Communities (RECs).

  • More countries than ever are on the cusp of elimination, with the World Health Organization’s E-2025 report revealing 25 countries and territories within reach of zero malaria cases between 2021 - 2025.

    • WHO’s South-East Asia region achieved the target of ‘a 40% reduction in malaria case incidence compared to a 2015 baseline’ largely thanks to remarkable year-over-year progress in India and in the Greater Mekong Subregion.

    • Cabo Verde and the Islamic Republic of Iran have achieved zero indigenous malaria cases, with Malaysia also maintaining zero cases of human malaria for three consecutive years.

Advancing gender equality 

When we invest more in putting women and adolescent girls at the fulcrum of the malaria fight, we can achieve a double dividend: accelerate ending malaria and advance gender equality.

  • In 2018, The Global Fund and the RBM Partnership to End Malaria piloted the Malaria Matchbox tool in India and Niger, providing countries with guidance on how to identify risk factors and barriers impeding equitable and integrated people centred malaria programs, included gender-related barriers

  • In countries where the Global Fund invests, 11.5 million pregnant women received preventive treatment for malaria (IPTp) in 2020, nearly the same amount as previous years despite COVID-19 disruptions – however, 33% of women at risk of malaria receive the full course of treatment recommended by WHO

  • National malaria programmes are mobilizing community health workers, the majority of which are females, to play an active role in sustaining malaria case management, addressing other diseases, and supporting pandemic preparedness and response including through early detection of fevers, and real-time surveillance 

  • In 2020, 20,000 female seasonal workers hired to support indoor residual spraying (IRS) campaigns in 16 countries earned over USD $2.5 million in wages, providing substantial financial support to these workers, their families, and communities.