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Ending Malaria

What Needs to be Done?

There are many successful humanitarian projects in the field of global health, such as the prevention and treatment of malaria, despite the challenges faced on the way.

Ending Malaria

Every year, WHO and its partners unite around a common World Malaria Day theme. The theme for the 2016 edition was “End malaria for good.” This reflects the vision of a malaria-free world. The strategy formed to achieve this goal aims to dramatically lower the global impact of malaria over the next 15 years. It plans to reduce the rate of new malaria cases by at least 90%, reduce death rates by at least 90%, eliminate malaria in at least 35 countries and prevent a resurgence of malaria in all countries which are malaria-free. While great strides are being made regarding ending malaria, significant challenges remain. About 3.2 billion people – nearly half of the world’s population – are at risk of getting infected with malaria. Just in 2015, there were an estimated 214 million new cases of malaria and 438,000 deaths, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa. Millions of people are still not accessing the services necessary for the prevention and treatment malaria.

Malaria is an infectious disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. Malaria causes symptoms that typically include fever, fatigue, vomiting and headaches. These symptoms can be very dangerous especially for pregnant women and young children who are experiencing the disease for the first time. Severe cases can cause yellow skin, seizures, coma or even death. The disease is widespread in the tropical and subtropical regions around the equator. Malaria doesn’t only have an enormous impact on global health, it’s also commonly associated with poverty and has a major adverse effect on economic development. Losing the ability to work and high health care costs result in an estimated loss of US$12 billion a year.

Prevention and control

Prevention of malaria by compassionate organizations and the local population can aim at either:

  • preventing infection, by avoiding bites by parasite-carrying mosquitoes through the use of mosquito nets, insecticides and destroying mosquito breeding grounds.
  • preventing the disease, by using antimalarial drugs. The drugs do not prevent initial infection through a mosquito bite, but they prevent the development of malaria parasites in the blood, which are the forms that cause disease. This type of prevention is also called “suppression.”


Fortunately, malaria is an entirely preventable and treatable disease. The primary objective of treatment must be to ensure a rapid and complete elimination of the parasite which causes malaria to prevent progression of uncomplicated malaria to severe disease or death. This isn’t easy to achieve. The malaria parasite has begun to develop resistance to currently available drugs, and these resistant strains will spread. Many compassionate organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are investing in the development of new tools including drugs and strategies to prevent or delay resistance.

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