Girl lying under a mosquito net

The Bad News

(1) In 2020, malaria case numbers increased for the first time since the turn of the century.

  • There were a total of 241 million cases worldwide —14 million more than the year before.

(2) The top five countries most affected by malaria accounted for more than half of all cases!

  • Nigeria (~65 million)

  • DRC (~28 million)

  • Uganda (~12 million)

  • Mozambique (~9 million)

  • Angola (~8 million)

(3) More case numbers meant more deaths.

  • In 2020, 627,000 people died from malaria. It’s a 12% increase from the year before, with an extra 69,000 people succumbing to the disease.

(4) Malaria preys on the most vulnerable - that’s a fact that didn’t change in 2020.

  • Horrifically, 77% of all malaria deaths were suffered by children under the age of 5. Put another way, that’s the loss of one child almost every minute to an entirely preventable disease.

  • Sometimes, the impact of malaria begins even before birth. That’s because pregnant women are often without adequate protection from mosquito bites, and because malaria can put babies at risk of low birthweight. This can lead to delayed physical and mental growth, long-term chronic health issues, and a higher risk of childhood mortality.

  • In 2020, 819,000 children were born with low birthweight in countries with high rates of malaria.

(5) The Covid-19 pandemic had a huge impact on the fight against malaria.

  • In fact, the WHO estimates that 47,000 of the additional deaths in 2020 were, “due to disruptions to services during the pandemic.” The global response to coronavirus stretched supply chains to their thinnest. The result went well beyond not seeing toilet paper on supermarket shelves, it significantly impeded efforts to implement critical tools like insecticide-treated nets (ITNs), indoor-residual spraying, and anti-malaria medication.

Congo Woman holding Mosquito net in a mud hut

The Good News

(6) Nets, sprays, and medications remain the backbone of our malaria response.

  • The 2020 World Malaria Report states that these cheap and effective tools have helped to prevent an estimated 1,700,000,000 cases of malaria since the turn of the century. That also means that approximately 10,600,000 lives have been saved!

(7) Things were bad, but they could have been much worse.

  • Whilst Covid-19 has dealt a significant blow to the fight against malaria, some countries were able to push on with progress.

    • 11,800,000 more children in Niger had access to anti-malaria medication than the year before. Medication costs as little as USD$7 and can protect a child for an entire year!

    • 31,000,000 children had at least one dose of a preventative malaria medication (that’s up from only 200,000 in 2012!).

    • Over 229,000,000 Insecticide Treated Nets were distributed. As a result, close to half of all children and pregnant women in Sub-Saharan Africa have access to a safe sleep!

The Exciting News

(8) The first ever malaria vaccine has been approved for use!

  • In 2021, the WHO approved RTS,S for use. It has already been trialled in three countries, and has been found to reduce the rate of deadly malaria infections by 30%! It also means that children can be protected even if they don’t have access to other tools like ITNs.

  • It’s a huge step towards a better future.

Here’s how you can help!

The future is promising, but only if we keep doing three important things.

  1. Educate

    • Share this post and save it for later! If you’d like to know more, head to the links in the references to read the full report and executive summary.

  2. Advocate

    • Speak to your friends and family about this deadly disease! Raise awareness about malaria in your local community!

  3. Donate

    • We donate 50% of our profit to United to Beat Malaria. They work with organisations on the ground to deliver critical tools. They have previously worked with the RBM Partnership to End Malaria and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation



  1. World malaria report 2021. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2021. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.

July 11, 2022 — Bal Dhital
Tags: Malaria