U.S. funding supports the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), which implements malaria prevention and treatment activities in 24 countries throughout Africa and Southeast Asia. Funds help develop malaria vaccines, antimalarial drugs, diagnostics, insecticides, and malaria-related research.
What does it buy?
Malaria funding supports the purchase and delivery of insecticidetreated bed nets, antimalarial drugs, insecticide-spraying in homes, and the development of new tools such as novel insecticides and new vaccine candidates.
Why is it important?
The fight against malaria is one of humanity’s biggest public health successes. Over the last two decades, 1.5 billion cases have been averted, and 7.6 million lives have been saved.
In 2019 there were 229 million malaria cases, with an estimated 409,000 deaths in 87 malaria-endemic countries. This is compared with 228 million cases and 411,000 deaths in 2018.
Malaria is treatable, yet in 2019 children under five years of age accounted for 67%, or 274,000, of all malaria deaths worldwide. In Africa, malaria kills more than 200,000 children per year.
Twenty-nine countries account for 95% of malaria cases globally. Nigeria (27%), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (12%), Uganda (5%), Mozambique (4%), and Niger (3%) accounted for about 51% of all cases globally.
Between 2000 and 2019, the number of countries where malaria is endemic and that reported fewer than 10,000 cases increased 56%.
Malaria is treatable, yet the disease causes nearly 3,000 child deathsevery day, 90% of which originate in sub-Saharan Africa.
Why should Americans care?
Endemic in 87 countries, malaria’s economic impact is staggering. It is estimated that malaria’s direct costs exceed $12 billion annually.
Malaria affects approximately 2,000 Americans each year who are traveling or working abroad and return to the U.S. carrying the disease.
The most pessimistic estimates suggest that COVID-19related disruptions in combating malaria in Africa could almost double malaria mortality by the end of 2020.
According to Dr. Pedro L. Alonso, director of the World Health Organization’s global malaria program, “[COVID-19] risks derailing all our efforts and taking us back to where we were 20 years ago.”
A WHO model predicted that in the worst-case scenario, deaths from malaria could double to 770,000 per year.
What more could be done?
A total investment of $820 million would allow PMI to respond to critical issues emerging in the fight against malaria—including mosquito resistance to the insecticides used to treat bed nets.
Using data collected through ongoing entomological studies, PMI could target the distribution of upgraded nets, protecting over 80 million people.