World Malaria Day 2023

World Malaria Day, marked each year on 25 April, is an occasion to highlight the global efforts to end malaria and the need for sustained political commitment and continued investment for malaria control and elimination.

Through its 2023 theme “Time to deliver zero malaria: invest, innovate, implement”, the World Health Organization will focus on the third “i” – implementation. In particular, it will highlight the importance of reaching marginalized populations (e.g. regions across the Western Pacific) with the tools and strategies available today. 

World Malaria Day

25th April 2023

World Malaria Day 2022, Time is of essence; WHO

Key messages:

  1. Invest:
    The funding gap between the resources needed and invested in malaria control worldwide continues to widen, especially in the last 3 years. According to the WHO’s 2022 World Malaria Report, 3.5 billion of the 7.5 billion needed has been provided in 2021. Given the changing economic environment, the funding space for malaria control has become more and more challenging. In this environment of resource scarcity, a more targeted use of available funds is essential. Funding should be prioritized for the highest-risk populations, who have less access to services and are most affected when they become sick. Adequate and predictable funding is essential for sustained progress in malaria control.
  2. Innovate:
    Investment in innovation, research and development has played a critical role in reducing the global malaria burden in recent years.
    Since 2000, The development and massive scale-up of rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs), insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) and artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) have been the backbone of malaria control . Continued investment in the development and deployment of next-generation tools is key to achieving the 2030 global malaria targets.

  3. Implement:Malaria-affected countries and their partners are urged to use the tools and strategies recommended by WHO that are now available to all those at risk of malaria. According to the latest World Malaria Report, countries have made some progress in expanding access to malaria services for the most vulnerable populations. Still, too many people at high risk of malaria do not have access to the services they need to prevent, detect, and treat the disease. Challenges in expanding access to malaria care have been exacerbated, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, converging humanitarian crises, limited financial resources, weak surveillance systems, and declining effectiveness of key malaria control tools. WHO recently released new guidance, strategies, and frameworks to address these challenges and help countries build more resilient malaria programs. WHO has also improved the transparency, flexibility, and accessibility of its malaria recommendations.


Source: WHO World Malaria Day 2022

World Malaria Day 2023 theme:

‘Time to deliver zero malaria: invest, innovate, implement’ 

See  the presentation from Jennifer Cain Birkmose (  from the ExciPerience 2021 on why malaria is a very relevant topic:

See the full presentation of Jennifer Cain Birkmose here

World Malaria Day 2023 challenges across the Western Pacific:

  • The Western Pacific still faces challenges on the way to eliminate the diverse malaria diseases.
  • The disease often concentrated in remote areas and hard-to-reach populations, including forest goers, migrants, indigenous people, military and refugees.
  • Plasmodium falciparum accounts for more than 70% of malaria deaths in the region, often due to delayed treatment.
  • Reaching remote populations (e.g. in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands) with malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment is a critical strategy for achieving global malaria targets and delivering on the promise of “zero malaria.”
  • WHO is working with the Western Pacific regions to implement intensification strategies, including targeted drug administration, fever screening and treatment, and rapid response to all malaria cases.

World Malaria Day infographic
World Malaria Day infographic

Facts about malaria

What is malaria?

Malaria is a life-threatening disease transmitted to humans by certain species of mosquitoes. It occurs mainly in tropical countries. It is preventable and curable.

Risk groups and symptomps

The risk of severe infection is higher in the following groups of people: Babies, children younger than 5 years, pregnant women, travelers, and people with HIV or AIDS. The most common early symptoms of malaria are fever, headache and chills. Symptoms usually appear within 10-15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Some types of malaria can cause severe illness and death. Severe symptoms include:

  • extreme tiredness and fatigue
  • impaired consciousness
  • multiple convulsions
  • difficulty breathing
  • dark or bloody urine
  • jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin)
  • abnormal bleeding.

Malaria Prevention

Malaria can be prevented by avoiding mosquito bites or taking medication. The risk of contracting malaria from mosquito bites can be reduced, for example by using mosquito nets and protective clothing.

Vector control: Is a vital component of malaria control and elimination strategies. WHO currently recommends either the use of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) or indoor residual spraying (IRS) for malaria control in most malaria-prone areas. Complementary measures such as larviciding may be considered depending on the context and available resources.

Chemoprophylaxis: Travelers to malaria endemic areas should consult their physician several weeks before departure. The physician will determine which chemoprophylaxis medications are appropriate for the destination country. In some cases, chemoprophylaxis must be started 2-3 weeks before departure.

Preventive chemotherapies: Is the use of drugs, either alone or in combination, to prevent malaria infection and its consequences. It requires the administration of a full course of an antimalarial drug to vulnerable populations at specific times during the period of greatest malaria risk, regardless of whether the recipient is infected with malaria.

Vaccine: Beginning in October 2021, WHO recommends widespread use of the RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine in children living in regions with moderate to high P. falciparum malaria transmission. The vaccine has been shown to significantly reduce malaria and fatal severe malaria in young children.

Malaria Elimination

In 2021, 35 countries reported fewer than 1,000 indigenous cases of the disease, up from 33 countries in 2020 and only 13 countries in 2000. Countries that have reported no indigenous malaria cases for at least three consecutive years are eligible to apply for WHO’s malaria elimination certificate. Since 2015, nine countries have been certified malaria-free by the WHO Director-General, including the Maldives (2015), Sri Lanka (2016), Kyrgyzstan (2016), Paraguay (2018), Uzbekistan (2018), Argentina (2019), Algeria (2019), China (2021), and El Salvador (2021).
Countries and territories certified malaria-free by WHO
Ongoing measures are needed to prevent re-transmission.


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