WHO global health days

World Malaria Day, 25 April 2013

Invest in the future. Defeat malaria.

Over the last decade, the world has made major progress in the fight against malaria. Since 2000, malaria mortality rates have fallen by more than 25%, and 50 of the 99 countries with ongoing transmission are now on track to meet the 2015 World Health Assembly target of reducing incidence rates by more than 75%. A major scale-up of vector control interventions, together with increased access to diagnostic testing and quality-assured treatment, has been key to this progress.

But we are not there yet. Malaria still kills an estimated 660 000 people worldwide, mainly children under five years of age in sub-Saharan Africa. Every year, more than 200 million cases occur; most of these cases are never tested or registered. A recent plateauing of international funding has slowed down progress, and emerging drug and insecticide resistance threaten to reverse recent gains.

If the world is to maintain and accelerate progress against malaria, in line with Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 6, and to ensure attainment of MDGs 4 and 5, more funds are urgently required.

The theme for 2013 and the coming years is: Invest in the future. Defeat malaria.

Goal: energize commitment to fight malaria

World Malaria Day was instituted by WHO Member States during the World Health Assembly of 2007. It is an occasion to highlight the need for continued investment and sustained political commitment for malaria prevention and control. It is also an opportunity:

  • for countries in affected regions to learn from each other's experiences and support each other's efforts;
  • for new donors to join a global partnership against malaria;
  • for research and academic institutions to flag scientific advances to both experts and the general public; and
  • for international partners, companies and foundations to showcase their efforts and reflect on how to further scale up interventions.

WHO will use this opportunity to illustrate best practices in a range of settings where malaria is a major health challenge, and will facilitate the sharing of experiences between countries to adapt and strengthen malaria control efforts.

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