PMI Statement on the World Malaria Report 2019

Dec 4, 2019 |

PMI welcomes the World Health Organization’s latest World Malaria Report, released on December 4, 2019.

Thanks to collective global action, the report estimates there were 228 million malaria cases and 405,000 deaths in 2018—down from 2017 and significantly below the estimated 321 million cases and 995,000 deaths expected if malaria incidence had remained at 2000 levels. Despite challenges such as growing populations and rising biological threats, these findings illustrate that global efforts remain effective at keeping malaria cases at bay and driving down malaria deaths. The U.S. Government—through PMI and the U.S. contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria—has played a vital role in these achievements. 

African countries continue to be the hardest hit by malaria, and each is at a different stage in their fight against the disease. Uganda—a PMI partner since 2006—achieved an estimated 1.5 million fewer malaria cases in 2018, partly through a strategic use of data at the subnational level to effectively guide deployment of a mix of interventions and maximize the use of existing tools and resources. In 2018, Nigeria—which accounts for a quarter of all malaria cases worldwide—saw its population jump from approximately 190 million people to 195 million. The country experienced an estimated 3.4 million more malaria cases in 2018. These examples highlight the need to continue scaling up proven interventions, introduce new ones where needed, and deploy the right mix of interventions at the right place and at the right time.

Outside the African region, many more countries are now advancing rapidly toward elimination, demonstrating that zero malaria is within reach. Notably, the report highlighted dramatic malaria reductions in the Greater Mekong Subregion, particularly against strains that pose a global drug resistance threat. Further, Cambodia reported zero malaria-related deaths for the first time. PMI provides critical funding and targeted support that is contributing to efforts in the region to eliminate malaria and stamp out drug resistance.

PMI supports the report’s urgent call to prioritize pregnant women and children, the two most-at-risk groups. Children under age five accounted for more than two-thirds (67 percent) of all malaria deaths. PMI’s programs prioritize pregnant women and children by delivering targeted interventions. In fiscal year 2018, PMI funds helped protect 5 million children with seasonal malaria chemoprevention and 6 million pregnant women with intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy (IPTp). The large jump in pregnant women receiving the recommended three or more doses of IPTp is another encouraging finding that demonstrates the impact of PMI investments in community-level care, health worker training, and social and behavior change interventions.

PMI also applauds the report’s finding that new tools and strategies will be critical to accelerate progress against malaria, echoing recent recommendations from the Lancet Commission on Malaria Eradication. PMI is at the forefront of introducing innovations such as next-generation mosquito nets and insecticides and fostering healthy marketplaces that create space for innovation. Just as importantly, PMI is partnering with countries and global partners to revolutionize the malaria data environment to better share, integrate, analyze, and act on data.

In the last year, the global community has come together with renewed purpose, urgency, and dedication to ending malaria within a generation. PMI is proud to collaborate with countries, other donors, and other partners to realize this vision—a vision we are closer to achieving today than ever before. 

The full 2019 World Malaria Report is available here.


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