World Malaria Day

World Malaria Day

World Malaria Day, marked each year on 25 April, is an occasion to highlight the need for continued investment and sustained political commitment for malaria prevention and control. The Day was instituted by World Health Organization (WHO) Member States during the 2007 World Health Assembly.


Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by Plasmodium parasites. The parasites are spread to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes, called “malaria vectors.” There are 5 parasite species that cause malaria in humans, and 2 of these species – P. falciparum and P. vivax – pose the greatest threat.

Malaria is a preventable and treatable disease that continues to have a devastating impact on the health and livelihood of people around the world.

There were an estimated 619 000 malaria deaths globally in 2021 compared to 625 000 in the first year of the pandemic. In 2019, before the pandemic struck, the number of deaths stood at 568 000. Malaria cases continued to rise between 2020 and 2021, but at a slower rate than in the period 2019 to 2020. The global tally of malaria cases reached 247 million in 2021 compared to 245 million in 2020 and 232 million in 2019.


Malaria is an acute febrile illness. In a non-immune individual, symptoms usually appear 10–15 days after the infective mosquito bite. The first symptoms – fever, headache, and chills – may be mild and difficult to recognize as malaria. If not treated within 24 hours, P. falciparum malaria can progress to severe illness, often leading to death.

Children with severe malaria frequently develop one or more of the following symptoms: severe anaemia, respiratory distress in relation to metabolic acidosis, or cerebral malaria.

In adults, multi-organ failure is also frequent. In malaria endemic areas, people may develop partial immunity, allowing asymptomatic infections to occur.


Vector control is the main way to prevent and reduce malaria transmission. If coverage of vector control interventions within a specific area is high enough, then a measure of protection will be conferred across the community.


Early diagnosis and treatment of malaria reduces disease and prevents deaths. It also contributes to reducing malaria transmission. The best available treatment, particularly for P. falciparum malaria, is artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT).

Elimination and Eradication

Malaria elimination is defined as the interruption of local transmission of a specified malaria parasite species in a defined geographical area as a result of deliberate activities. Continued measures are required to prevent re-establishment of transmission.

Malaria eradication is defined as the permanent reduction to zero of the worldwide incidence of malaria infection caused by human malaria parasites as a result of deliberate activities. Interventions are no longer required once eradication has been achieved.

Certification of malaria elimination is the official recognition by WHO of a country’s malaria-free status. The certification is granted when a country has shown – with rigorous, credible evidence – that the chain of indigenous malaria transmission by Anopheles mosquitoes has been interrupted nationwide for at least the past three consecutive years.  A country must also demonstrate the capacity to prevent the re-establishment of transmission.


Theme for 2023 – Time to deliver zero malaria: invest, innovate, implement

World Malaria Day 2023 will be marked under the theme “Time to deliver zero malaria: invest, innovate, implement”.

Key messages

  • Invest – According to WHO’s World malaria report 2022, the funding gap between the amount invested in the global malaria response (US$ 3.5 billion) and the resources needed (US$ 7.3 billion) has widened, particularly over the past 3 years – increasing from a shortfall of US$ 2.6 billion in 2019 to US$ 3.5 billion in 2020 and US$ 3.8 billion in 2021.
  • Innovate – Despite recent setbacks in malaria control, investments in R&D played a crucial role in reducing the global burden of malaria over the last 2 decades. The development and massive roll-out of rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs), insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) and artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) have been the backbone of the malaria response since 2000. Continued investment in the development and deployment of next-generation tools will be key to achieving the 2030 global malaria targets.
  • Implement – Malaria-affected countries and partners are strongly encouraged to deliver the WHO-recommended tools and strategies that are available now for all at risk of malaria – and particularly those most vulnerable.


Malaria elimination certification at a glance

Certification of malaria elimination is the official recognition by WHO of a country’s malaria-free status. WHO grants this certification when a country has proven, beyond reasonable doubt, that the chain of indigenous malaria transmission has been interrupted nationwide for at least the past 3 consecutive years.

A country must also demonstrate the capacity to prevent the re-establishment of malaria transmission. A national surveillance system capable of rapidly detecting and responding to malaria cases (if they were occurring) must be operational, together with an appropriate programme to prevent re-establishment of transmission.


Malaria control in India

National Center for Vector Borne Diseases Control (NCVBDC), Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India is the central nodal agency for the
prevention and control of Vector Borne Diseases in India.

At present, the Monitoring & Evaluation reports of Malaria Elimination Program are compiled physically from the grass root levels of the health system, in stipulated formats and sent to NVBDCP for National level compilation and necessary action. This process consumes lot of time & energy for physical delivery of the state’s data to NVBDCP, which is usually around one month. For achieving online and real-time reporting in Malaria Elimination Program, two states were selected for pilot testing of the Web-based Malaria MIS. This application consists of information on Malaria case management, Vector Control, Reports,
Dashboard and Maps (using Google features). In the initial stages of this initiative, village-wise data entry is done by the ground level field workers like ANM, MPHW, etc.

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