Countries exacerbate the double challenge of Malaria and COVID-19, yet exacerbate pandemic over a malaria-free future

Geneva –

  • Africa avoids doubling malaria deaths by 2020, but progress remains flat in high-burden countries
  • Southeast Asia makes great strides in eliminating malaria
  • Ten countries across all continents have not reached malaria in the last five years

Despite the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries around the world have taken the lead in protecting historic gains against malaria this year, saving hundreds of thousands of lives, preserving fragile health systems and keeping malaria at bay in countries with no local cases. .

However, the long-term success of achieving a malaria-free world within a generation is far from assured, and the countries with the greatest burden in Africa have been struggling to make significant or steady gains in the fight against malaria since 2016, according to the latest World Malaria report published today by the World Health Organization (WHO). The report confirmed that 409,000 people died of malaria in 2019 and that there were 229 million malaria cases worldwide.

Dr Abdourahmane Diallo, CEO of the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, said:

‘This year the fight against malaria has become increasingly difficult, but we have also decided. Countries’ heroic efforts have contributed to doubling malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa take continuous steps towards elimination in Asia and the Americas. Tallinvestments in the fight against malaria bear fruit during the pandemic. However, we have need updated data and to apply lessons learned from the COVID-19 response and adapt our approaches in real time to maximize impact teen malaria.

Countries mobilize to save lives from malaria in the light of COVID-19

Thanks to the unprecedented mobilization of countries in the light of COVID-19, more than 90% of the life-saving malaria prevention campaigns for this year have continued, making it the worst case of doubling malaria deaths in Africa south of the Sahara in 2020 alone. Malaria cases and deaths are expected to increase in 2020 due to disruptions in access to essential malaria diagnosis and treatment services in the countries concerned, ranging from 5-50%.

‘Malaria’s impact in 2020 would have been much worse even if it were not for the incredible efforts of countries and their partners, but the reality is that every malaria death today can be avoided. We have seen how the malaria toll, especially among young children, increases during health crises. We must continue to tackle malaria and COVID together to save more lives and protect heathen systems, ‘Dr Diallo added.

Global malaria map continues to shrink

Despite the rapid spread of COVID-19 to all parts of the world, countries are still making progress towards zero malaria, with 27 registering fewer than 100 cases in 2019, compared to six in 2000. Several of them, including China, El Salvador and Malaysia, has successfully faced malaria due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which puts them on track for malaria-free certification next year. Since 2000, ten countries have been certified malaria-free by the WHO.

According to this year’s World Malaria Report, the WHO region in Southeast Asia is on track to achieve a 40% reduction in malaria cases and deaths by 2020, a global target set in 2016 – largely thanks to remarkable progress in the year-to-year period. India and in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region.

Professor Yongyuth Yuthavong, a member of the RBM Partnership, Malaria Scientist and former Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, said:

“Tthe Greater Mekong Subregion has made tremendous progress towards elimination, even though the growth of insecticides and drugs is resistant malaria sake and deaths by more than 90% since 2000. This achievement is in no way due to the development and scaling up of life-saving instruments many of which were not available 20 years ago, and cross-border collaboration that has improved and enhanced supervision. Today we must cContinue investing in innovations that will help us keep pace with the changing vector and parasite.

Pandemic emphasizes the importance of real-time data and innovation for maximum impact

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the global malaria community has shown unprecedented cooperation in mobilizing additional resources, addressing supply chain disruptions to life-saving malaria interventions and personal protective equipment, resolving campaign delivery bottlenecks and responds to boom in malaria.

COVID-19 has shown the critical importance of timely, accurate and localized data and innovation to fight an infectious disease effectively. It is necessary to turn critical strategies around and to target limited resources in response to new challenges.

Dr Elizabeth Chizema, member of the RBM Partnership Council and former director of the National Malaria Elimination Program of Zambia, said:

The global malaria community must seize the opportunity to truly usetime data to inform rightstime decision making. This approach, catalyzed and facilitated by the RBM Partnership, will helps to prioritize limited resources and further supports the country’s resilience in light of the unexpected obstacles that can arise when fighting malaria.

Stay focused on the realistic goal of a malaria-free world

Since 2000, the world, thanks to a committed global partnership, has made tremendous progress against malaria, saving 7.6 million lives and preventing 1.5 billion new infections.

In addition to saving lives, investing in malaria over the past two decades has also strengthened health systems, improved economies, and increased global health security. These advances also drastically reduced the burden of disease on health systems, while training health workers boosted and added laboratory capacity and disease surveillance, which could help them better respond to new health threats.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic consequences threaten the long-term progress towards the eradication of malaria. The commitments and actions that countries will make in the next few years are crucial to get back on track to achieve the ambitious and realistic malaria goals, especially in Africa, a continent that bears more than 90% of global malaria costs. .

Professor Maha Taysir Barakat, Chair of the RBM Partnership Council, concluded:

We can not allow the COVID-19 pandemic distracts us from doubling our efforts to protect heavy profits teen malaria and faster efforts to end this disease within a generation. The end of malaria will also enable countries to deal with other diseases as well as current and emerging diseases health threats. With sustained commitment, optimal use of current resources and new investments, we can deliver on the promise of a malaria-free world.####


To arrange an interview or more about the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, contact the RBM Partnership Press Office at or call +44 (0) 20 3861 3747.

Notes to editors:

About malaria

  • Malaria is one of the world’s oldest and deadliest diseases. It has existed since the time of the dinosaurs and some believe that it killed half of the people who ever lived.
  • Malaria is completely preventable and treatable. Despite this, more than 400 000 people die from it every year – mostly children under the age of five. A child still dies every two minutes from malaria.
  • Half of the world is still at risk of malaria, with more than 90% of the world’s malaria burden in Africa.

Key Findings from the 2020 World Malaria Report

  • Since 2000, worldwide efforts have saved 7.6 million lives and prevented 1.5 billion new malaria infections.
  • In 2019, global malaria deaths decreased slightly to 409,000 – the lowest number of malaria deaths ever – while malaria cases increased slightly to 229 million.
  • Between 2000 and 2019, the number of countries with less than 100 indigenous malaria cases – a strong indication that malaria elimination is within reach – increased from 6 to 27
  • Since 2000, 21 countries have reported zero indigenous malaria cases for three consecutive years, ten of which have been certified malaria-free by the WHO.
  • In the 11 countries with the largest burden that accounted for 70% of the global malaria burden in 2017, deaths dropped from 263,000 in 2018 to 226,000 in 2019, while cases increased slightly from 155 million to 156 million in the same period.
  • WHO’s region Southeast Asia is on track to achieve a 40% reduction in malaria cases by 2020 – a global target set in 2016 – largely thanks to remarkable year-on-year progress in India and the Greater Mekong region .
  • The Greater Mekong region has reduced malaria cases and deaths by more than 90% since 2000.
  • India has reduced malaria cases by 1.2 million over the past two years.

Malaria attempts in the light of COVID-19

  • In April, a model analysis by the WTO and partners predicted that malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa could double this year alone – to rates last seen nearly two decades ago – as access to life-saving insecticide-treated nets and treatment for malaria is severely curtailed. .
  • In response, the RBM Partnership has issued an urgent call for action urging countries to continue safe, malaria prevention campaigns planned for 2020.
  • Thanks to countries’ leadership, more than 90% of the campaigns are underway in 28 countries that have planned them for 2020.
  • More than 200 million mosquito nets are distributed on schedule, and some 20 million children have been protected this year with chemical prevention of malaria (SMC).

For more information on COVID-19 and malaria visit

About the RBM Partnership to End Malaria

The RBM Partnership to End Malaria is the largest global platform for coordinated action against malaria. Originally established as a Roll Back Malaria (RBM) partnership in 1998, it mobilizes for action and resources and forges consensus between partners. The partnership consists of more than 500 partners, including malaria-endemic countries, their bilateral and multilateral development partners, the private sector, non-governmental and community-based organizations, foundations and research and academic institutions. The RBM Partnership Secretariat is hosted by the United Nations Project Services Office (UNOPS) in Geneva, Switzerland.
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Twitter: @endmalaria


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