Globally, the number of malaria cases fell from an estimated 262 million in 2000 to 214 million in 2015, and the number of malaria deaths fell from an estimated 839,000 in 2000, to 438,000 in 2015, as more countries move toward malaria elimination, according to results of a recently-published World Health Organization report.
According to the “World Malaria Report 2015,” 57 of the 106 countries with malaria in 2000 had achieved reductions in new malaria cases of at least 75% by 2015. In that same time frame, 18 countries reduced their malaria cases by between 50% and 75%.
Across sub-Saharan Africa, the prevention of new cases of malaria has resulted in major cost savings for endemic countries, according to the report’s findings.
New estimates presented in the report show that reductions in malaria cases attributable to malaria control activities saved an estimated $900 million in case management costs in the region between 2001 and 2014. Insecticide-treated mosquito nets contributed the largest savings, followed by artemisinin-based combination therapies and indoor residual spraying.
For the first time since officials with the World Health Organization (WHO) began tracking malaria rates, the European Region is reporting zero indigenous cases of malaria.
Since 2000, the malaria mortality rate has declined by 85% in the South-East Asia Region, by 72% in the Region of the Americas, by 65% in the Western Pacific Region, and by 64% in the Eastern Mediterranean Region. While the African Region continues to carry the highest malaria burden, here too there have been gains: over the last 15 years, malaria mortality rates fell by 66% among all age groups, and by 71% among children younger than age 5, a population particularly susceptible to the disease.
Despite, progress, there is still work to do, according to the report. In 2015, there were estimated 214 million new cases of malaria, and approximately 438,000 deaths.
Fifteen countries, mainly in Africa, account for most global malaria cases (80%) and deaths (78%).
Millions of people are still not receiving the services they need to prevent and treat malaria. In 2014, approximately one third of people at risk of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa lived in households that lacked protection from mosquito nets or indoor residual spraying.
In May 2015, the World Health Assembly adopted the WHO “Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016-2030”, a new 15-year framework for malaria control in all endemic countries. The strategy sets ambitious targets for 2030, including a reduction in global malaria incidence and mortality of at least 90%; the elimination of malaria in at least 35 countries; and the prevention of a resurgence of malaria in all countries that are malaria free.