Malaria

OWID presents work from many different people and organizations. When citing this entry, please also cite the original data source. This entry can be cited as:

Max Roser (2017) – ‘Malaria’. Published online at OurWorldInData.org. Retrieved from: https://ourworldindata.org/malaria/ [Online Resource]


# Empirical View

# Deaths Due to Malaria

Since the beginning of the 21st century, the WHO has published global estimates of the number of people that die from malaria. In these 15 years the global death toll has been cut in half: from 839,000 deaths in 2000 to 438,000 in 2015.
Africa is the world region that is most affected by malaria: In 2015, the African continent held 9 out of 10 malaria victims (click on ‘Expand’ to see this). But Africa is also the world region that has achieved most progress: from 2000 to 2015, African deaths from malaria were reduced from 764,000 to 395,000.

Download this visualization as a static image.

# Malaria Prevalence Today

The map shows the number of malaria cases per 100,000 individuals across the world. The malaria prevalence is highest in the central part of Africa north and south of the equator.

# Malaria Prevalence Historically

The following map shows that malaria is prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Southern Asia. The map also shows that malaria was formerly prevalent in many other world regions. In the Western US, Europe, Northern Australia, and much of Asia malaria was once very common.

World map of past and current malaria prevalence – World Development Report (2009)1

World Map of past and current Malaria prevalence – World Development Report (2009)

The below map shows the distribution of malaria deaths within the United States in 1870. Malaria was prevalent in most parts of the US, but especially so in pockets along the coasts.

Proportion of deaths from malaria to deaths of all causes – US Census 18702

Proportion of deaths from malaria to deaths of all causes – US Census 1870


# Correlates, Determinants & Consequences

In the first chart on this page, we see that the number of malaria deaths in Africa is now declining. The following chart shows that over the same period the number of people sleeping under insecticide treated nets increased.

# Bed nets

Bhatt et al. (2015)3 studied the decline of cases of malaria in Africa between 2000 and 2015. They found that the single most important contributor to the decline were insecticide-treated bed nets. According to their findings bed nets were responsible for the aversion of 68% of the 663 million averted cases in Africa between 2000 and 2015. These are 451 million averted cases.

The second largest factor according to the study was artemisinin-based combination therapy which was responsible for 19% of averted cases. And the third largest factor was indoor residual spraying (IRS) which accounted for 13% of averted cases according to the study.

Estimated trend in proportion of households with at least one insecticide treated net (ITN) and proportion of the population sleeping under an ITN in sub-Saharan Africa, 2000-2012 – WHO (2012)4

Estimated trend in proportion of households with at least one insecticide treated net (ITN) and proportion of the population sleeping under an ITN in sub-Saharan Africa, 2000-2012 – WHO (2012)

# Funding for malaria control

Funding for malaria control has increased dramatically from 2000, but has recently stalled.

Past and projected international funding for malaria control, 2000-2015 – WHO (2012)5

Past and projected international funding for malaria control, 2000-2015 – WHO (2012)

# Malaria and economic prosperity

# There are high economic costs of malaria

Okorosobo et al. (2013)6 estimate that the malaria “penalty” to GDP ranges from 0.41% of GDP in Ghana to 8.9% of GDP in Chad, all of which could be regained following elimination of malaria. Complete eradication of the disease would increase GDP in Uganda by 50 million USD.

Azemar and Desbordes (2009)7 find that in the median sub-Saharan African country, foreign direct investment could increase by as much as one-third as a result of malaria and HIV eradication, slightly more than one-half of this is attributed to malaria.

# Data Quality & Definitions

The United Nations give the following definitions:8

The malaria incidence rate (Ii) is the number of new cases of malaria (Cases) divided by the total population (Pop) and multiplied by 100,000.

Ii = (Cases / Pop) * 100,000

The malaria death rate (Id) is the number of deaths due to malaria (Deaths) divided by the total population (Pop) and multiplied by 100,000.

Id = (Deaths / Pop) * 100,000

WHO estimates of the number of malaria deaths, 2010 – WHO (2012)9
RegionEstimateLowerUpper% <5
African596 000429 000772 00091%
Region of the Americas1 1007001 80029%
Eastern Mediterranean15 3007 20023 50070%
European000
South-East Asia43 00031 10060 30032%
Western Pacific4 0002 4006 10041%
World660 000490 000836 00086%

 

WHO estimates of the number of malaria cases (in thousands), 2010 – WHO (2012)10
RegionEstimateLowerUpper% falciparum
African174 000110 000242 00098%
Region of the Americas1 1009001 30035%
Eastern Mediterranean10 4006 40016 60083%
European0.20.20.2
South-East Asia32 00025 90041 90053%
Western Pacific1 7001 3002 10079%
World219 000154 000289 00090%

Since 2000, the proportion of people suspected to have malaria who receive a diagnostic test has increased dramatically. However, there is still a far way to go in Africa where still only approximately half of all people suspected to have malaria receive a diagnostic test.

Proportion of suspected malaria cases attending public health facilities that receive a diagnostic test, 2000-2011 – WHO (2012)11

Proportion of suspected malaria cases attending public health facilities that receive a diagnostic test, 2000-2011 – WHO (2012)


# Data Sources

# World Health Organization (WHO)
  • Data: Data on cases, deaths (reported and estimates) and prevention and treatment
  • Geographical coverage: Global – by country and WHO region
  • Time span: Since 2000 (for reported deaths); shorter for other measures.
  • Available at: Online here.
  • WHO data on malaria deaths and cases (1990-2006) is also available through Gapminder where it can be plotted against a second indicator.

# World Development Indicators (WDI) – published by the World Bank
  • Data: Children with fever receiving antimalarial drugs (% of children under age 5 with fever), use of insecticide-treated bed nets (% of under-5 population)
  • Geographical coverage: Global – by country & world region
  • Time span: Annual data – since 2000.
  • Available at: Online here.

# United Nations – Millennium Development Goals Database
  • Data: Notified cases of malaria (per 100,000 people) and malaria death rate (all ages & ages 0-4)
  • Geographical coverage: Global – by country and region.
  • Time span: Only very recent data.
  • Available: Notified cases of malaria (per 100,000 people) here.
    Malaria death rate (all ages) here.
    Malaria death rate (ages 0-4) here.

# DHS Malaria Indicator Survey (MIS)
  • Data: Detailed survey data from African countries
  • Geographical coverage: Some African countries.
  • Time span: late 2000s
  • Available at: Online here.

# The MARA/ARMA (Mapping Malaria Risk in Africa/Atlas du Risque de la Malaria en Afrique) project
  • Data: MARA LITe malaria prevalence data, distribution of the Anopheles gambiae, entomological inoculation rates, related climate data and malaria distribution maps and estimated populations at risk.
  • Geographical coverage:  Entire Africa – low level
  • Time span: Mostly recent data
  • Available at: Online at www.mara.org.za.
  • Often it is possible to download the data and to view the data visualized on maps.

# Conley, McCord and Sachs (2007) Malaria Dataset
  • Data: % of population at risk of malaria.
  • Geographical coverage: Global – by country.
  • Time span: 1960 – 2000 (observations every 5 years – including interpolations)
  • Available at: Online here.

# WHO data on incidence of malaria cases
  • Data: Incidence of malaria cases
  • Geographical coverage: Global – by country.
  • Time span: 1962-1997 – annual data.
  • Available at: Online available at the website of Marta Reynal-Querol.

Other sources: Up-to-date information on the current state of malaria is published by the Roll Back Malaria Partnership – a partnership between WHO, UNICEF, UNDP and the World Bank.