Home Communicable Diseases World Malaria Report 2022

Overview

Each year, WHO’s World malaria report offers in-depth information on the latest trends in malaria control and elimination at global, regional and country levels. The report highlights progress towards global targets and describes opportunities and challenges for curbing and eliminating the disease.

This year’s report includes 3 new sections on:

  • global and regional initiatives launched in 2021 and 2022;
  • global malaria surveillance and country-level case studies on surveillance systems assessments; and
  • research and development.

The report also includes an expanded section on threats to malaria control, with a focus on the declining effectiveness of insecticide-treated mosquito nets.

Highlights

  • No further increase in malaria deaths in 2021: in 2019, before the pandemic struck, there were an estimated 568 000 deaths worldwide. This estimate rose to 625 000 in the first year of the pandemic (2020) and then fell to 619 000 in 2021.
  • Malaria cases continued to rise between 2020 and 2021, although at a much slower rate than from 2019 to 2020: cases stood at an estimated 247 million in 2021, compared to 245 million in 2020 and 232 million in 2019.
  • The African Region shoulders the heaviest malaria burden: with an estimated 234 million cases and 593 000 deaths in 2021, the WHO African Region continues to be hardest hit by the disease (95% of cases and 96% of deaths globally).
  • Two-year impact of COVID disruptions on malaria cases and deaths: during the two peak years of the pandemic (2020 and 2021), COVID-related disruptions led to an additional 63 000 malaria deaths and an additional 13 million cases. The impact of disruptions on the delivery of key malaria services and interventions varied for different tools and contexts.
  • Disruptions in diagnosis and treatment: globally, an estimated 435 million diagnostic tests were performed in 2021 compared to 398 million in 2020 and 450 million in 2019. WHO surveys have shown that disruptions in diagnosis and treatment in the African Region eased considerably in the latter part of 2021, with seven countries reporting disruptions, compared to 16 in the second quarter of 2020.
  • Millions of malaria cases and deaths averted: an estimated 177 million cases and 949 000 deaths were averted in 2020, and a further 185 million cases and 997 000 deaths in 2021, compared with the estimated burden if case incidence and mortality rates had remained at the levels of 2000.

Tracking progress and gaps in the global response to malaria

The 2022 edition of the report finds that, despite disruptions to prevention, diagnostic and treatment services during the pandemic, countries around the world have largely held the line against further setbacks to malaria control. There were an estimated 619 000 malaria deaths globally in 2021 compared to 625 000 in the first year of the pandemic. In 2019, before the pandemic struck, the number of deaths stood at 568 000. Malaria cases continued to rise between 2020 and 2021, but at a slower rate than in the period 2019 to 2020. The global tally of malaria cases reached 247 million in 2021 compared to 245 million in 2020 and 232 million in 2019. 

Global messaging: World malaria report 2022

Response
Despite COVID-related disruptions to malaria prevention, testing and treatment services, and the often devastating impacts of the pandemic on health, social and economic systems, national malaria programmes and their partners largely held the line against further setbacks to malaria control in 2021.

Resilience
Despite these challenges, national malaria programmes have demonstrated their resilience through the worst of times. Targeted new strategies, restored funding and strengthened health systems could help countries regain lost ground and build an even more resilient response to malaria.

Risks
Efforts to curb malaria continue to face a convergence of threats, particularly in the African Region, which carries the heaviest burden of the disease. Disruptions during the pandemic together with other humanitarian crises, health system challenges, restricted funding, rising biological threats and a decline in the effectiveness of core disease-cutting tools are undermining progress towards global malaria goals.

Research
A promising R&D pipeline is poised to bring nextgeneration malaria control tools that could help accelerate progress towards global targets.

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