Malaria

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  • A mosquito bite can kill. It’s as simple as that.

    Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted through the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito, causing nearly 600,000 deaths a year. Children and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable – in 2013, over three-quarters of all malaria deaths were in children under five.

    Once prevalent across most of the globe – including much of the American South and Northern Italy – elimination efforts of the 20th century have reduced malaria’s footprint to 97 countries. Today, however, half of the world’s population remains vulnerable to malaria.

  • Malaria is both preventable and treatable, and great progress has been made in the last decade alone. New methods of testing, the widespread distribution of insecticide-treated nets and the introduction of artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) have led to a 48 percent drop in malaria deaths between 2000 and 2014.

    But these gains remain fragile. If efforts are neglected, malaria could resurge within just one infectious season. Experts estimate that to eliminate malaria as a serious public health threat will require US$5.1 billion each year. In 2014, less than half that amount was available.

    There are other challenges in the response to malaria. Growing resistance to artemisinin and its partner drugs, as well as resistance to the insecticide used on nets, is threatening the response in much of Southeast Asia. The use of nets for other than their intended purpose also poses a threat to prevention and control efforts. Weak health management information systems make monitoring outbreaks and the impact of prevention efforts much more difficult.

    Reducing the impact of malaria involved a multipronged plan that includes education, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and monitoring.

  • The Global Fund supports a number of different interventions in the response to malaria. Depending on the country context, these could include such programs as: training groups of respected elders in each village who will teach malaria prevention through song and dance, spraying inside homes twice a year with insecticide, distributing insecticide-treated nets, and destroying or removing areas where mosquitoes breed.


    Boots on the Ground Against Malaria

    A team of spray operators and supervisors set out in the early morning to begin household spraying in Matabele North Province, Zimbabwe, near the northern border with Zambia. Spraying takes place once a year in the remote clusters of homesteads and aims to kill mosquitoes that spread malaria.

  • Education

    Education means ensuring that those populations living in malaria-endemic areas are provided with information about what malaria is, how it is transmitted, what treatments are available, and, most importantly, what actions to take if malaria is suspected. In Ghana, for example, village elders teach their community “not to let the sun set twice” on a child with fever. In many countries, malaria prevention modules are added to the school curriculum in both grade schools and higher education. In every community, both children and adults are taught methods for preventing malaria.

  • Prevention

    Prevention involves the distribution of insecticide-treated nets, the use of indoor residual spraying of households and, if appropriate, interventions targeting the larval stages of the mosquito. For example, in Sri Lanka, larvivorous (larvae-eating) fish were introduced to bodies of water where mosquitoes normally breed. Through the middle of 2015, programs supported by the Global Fund had distributed 548 million nets to protect families. Sleeping under an insecticide-treated net halves malaria cases among children.

  • Basing the Response to Malaria in the Community


    Meet the men and women fighting to save a new nation's children.
  • Diagnosis

    Diagnosis is also key, because not every fever signals malaria. By giving people the wrong treatment, you could be contributing to drug resistance. Until recently, a diagnosis of malaria required time-consuming laboratory tests, which were not available in many countries. However, in recent years inexpensive rapid diagnostic kits that are accurate and that can be used in any setting have become available.

  • Treatment

    As of mid 2015, programs supported by the Global Fund had provided 515 million treatments for malaria.

    In the last decade, we have seen the introduction of artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs), a new generation of antimalarial treatment that are highly effective. Unfortunately, however, we are already seeing resistance to the key ingredient, artemisinin, (as well as the partner drugs) develop in certain parts of the world. This is one of the great challenges facing us in the fight against malaria.

  • Monitoring

    As the incidence of malaria continues to decrease, it becomes even more important for countries to record and track cases so that they can monitor outbreaks.

    Death by mosquito bite. Join us, and together with our partners, we can make that impossible.