Let's recommit to strategies for malaria-free, equitable world by 2030


Today provides an opportunity to the global community to reflect on the progress made in the fight against one of the top killer diseases.

Malaria remains a pressing public health challenge especially in sub-Saharan Africa. The 2021 World Malaria Report estimated that there were 241 million cases and about 631,000 deaths from the disease across 85 endemic countries. Tragically, about three-quarters of these deaths were children under five, with 96 per cent occurring in Africa.

Despite these grim statistics, there is hope. Significant progress has been made, with 43 countries recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as malaria-free. Cape Verde, Algeria and Mauritius have achieved zero indigenous cases. Cape Verde’s success in January is a model for other African countries striving towards malaria elimination.

These countries have shown that with robust political will, continuous financial investment, effective policies, active community engagement and multi-sectoral collaboration, eradicating malaria is possible.

World Malaria Day, under the theme “Accelerating the fight against malaria for a more equitable world”, is a chance to recommit to eliminating this life-threatening disease.

Malaria not only inflicts severe human suffering but also impedes economic development. The disease disproportionately burdens the most vulnerable populations, including children and pregnant women, perpetuating a cycle of poverty and obstructing educational and economic advancements.

Moreover, we face emerging challenges such as climate change, drug-resistant strains of the parasite and insecticide-resistant mosquitoes. These necessitate relentless research and the development of innovative tools — next-generation drugs, cutting-edge vector control methods and emerging technologies are crucial to stay ahead of the disease’s evolution.

Equally important is the strengthening of health systems and enhancing community engagement to ensure that interventions reach those most at risk. Empowering communities to lead malaria control initiatives can lead to sustainable success in eliminating the disease.

Robust and large-scale surveillance mechanisms are needed to accurately measure the disease burden and track progress over time. Governments must prioritise investing in accurate malaria diagnosis and appropriate treatment to meet the WHO’s target of eliminating the disease by 2030.

Organisations such as Amref Health Africa have developed transformational big bets to catalyse malaria elimination actions amidst climate crisis. This day provides the platform for Amref and partners to spotlight the intensifying challenge on climate and malaria nexus, discuss public health strategies and propel nationwide crusade.

The fight against malaria is a fight for equity, economic stability and the health of millions. Let us renew our commitment to this cause, leveraging the successes and lessons of the past while innovating for the future to achieve a malaria-free world. Investing in research, innovative prevention and treatment methods and building robust health system will bolster our defences against a disease that has plagued humanity for centuries.

The global nature of malaria, with its ability to cross borders, requires a concerted, worldwide response. Partnerships in research, funding and strategy implementation have been crucial to the advancements made so far and will be even more important as we face the complexities of malaria in the context of global warming and socioeconomic disparities.