Malaria Burden in Africa

AIRS Sprayers in Benin

The PMI AIRS Project is committed to protecting those most vulnerable to malaria.

Malaria is a preventable and treatable disease transmitted by female Anopheles mosquitos carrying one of several parasites that causes the disease. Plasmodium falciparum is the parasite responsible for the vast majority of malaria infections and deaths in Africa.

Nearly half of the people in the world are at risk for malaria infection, but pregnant women and children in Africa are particularly vulnerable. In sub-Saharan Africa, malaria is the leading cause of death for children under five. Infection during pregnancy, particularly among new mothers, increases the risk of maternal mortality, neonatal mortality, and low birth weight1. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 198 million cases of malaria occurred globally in 2013 and the disease led to 584,000 deaths, representing a decrease in malaria case incidence and mortality rates of 30% and 47% since 2000, respectively. The burden is heaviest in sub-Saharan Africa, where an estimated 90% of all malaria deaths occur, and in children aged under 5 years, who account for 78% of all deaths.

In addition to loss of life, malaria places an economic burden on African nations. It is estimated that malaria costs Africa US$12 billion per year in direct costs and reduces GDP growth by 1.3 percent annually2. The burden is carried mostly by poor, rural families that have less access to current prevention and treatment services.

Despite the devastation caused by malaria, increased international attention and funding for prevention and treatment is saving lives. Between 2000-2013, malaria incidence was cut by 30% globally and 34% in Africa and that malaria mortality decreased by 47% worldwide and 54% in Africa.

1 World Malaria report 2014