Awareness to Action:  Malaria

World Malaria Day, recognized annually on April 25, raises awareness of the devastating impact of malaria and celebrates the achievements of nations that are on track to reaching malaria elimination. Malaria is a parasitic disease that is spread by anopheline mosquitoes, and without early access to treatment, may lead to severe disease and death. Over the past 20 years there has been significant progress in the fight against malaria, primarily due to the scale-up of vector control tools and better antimalarial diagnosis and treatment, along with improved data systems.  By the end of 2020, a total 24 countries reported interrupting malaria transmission for 3 years or more, and 11 of these have been certified malaria-free by the World Health Organization (WHO).  

Despite this progress, in 2019, there were still an estimated 229 million cases and 409,000 deaths worldwide. The African Region, as defined by the WHO, continues to bear the burden of 94% of all malaria cases and deaths. Children less than 5 years of age in sub-Saharan Africa account for approximately two-thirds of global deaths due to malaria. 

Faculty from the Eck Institute of Global Health (EIGH) and Notre Dame’s Department of Biological Sciences along with international partners, including Unitaid, are working to identify preventive strategies and improve malaria diagnosis in the African region and beyond. Learn about this important research from EIGH affiliated faculty members, Neil Lobo, John Grieco, and Cristian Koepfli, along with Unitaid technical manager, Katerina Galluzzo:

Calls to Action for the Scientific Community:

  • A comprehensive toolbox of interventions is needed to prevent, control, and eliminate malaria. With the limitations of the current tools, a reinvigoration of research and development efforts to assess and monitor effective interventions and diagnostics is needed.
  • Empowering and supporting in-country partners and accompanying them in the malaria eradication agenda is vital to the success of ending malaria.

Notre Dame Resources:

External Resources: