Malaria mortality among children under five is concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa

In 2016, there were 216 million malaria cases that led to 440,000 deaths. Of these about two thirds (290,000) were children under five years of age. This translates into a daily toll of nearly 800 children under age 5. Most of these deaths occurred in sub-Saharan Africa. Since 2010, mortality rates among children under five have fallen by 34 per cent.

Malaria is an urgent public health priority. Malaria and the costs of treatment trap families in a cycle of illness, suffering and poverty. Today, 3.2 billion (almost half of the world population) are at risk.  Since 2000, malaria has cost sub-Saharan Africa US$ 300 million each year for case management alone and it is estimated to cost up to 1.3 per cent of GDP in Africa.

Despite this heavy toll, major inroads have been made against the disease as a result of stepped-up funding and programming. Between 2000 and 2010, global investment for malaria control increased significantly and domestic investments have also increased annually. Funding increases have resulted in major advances against malaria. However, success is fragile and closely tied to sustained support and since 2010 there has been a plateau in the funding of the global malaria response. In 2016, the global total of international and domestic funding for malaria control and elimination was $2.7 billion – less than half of what is needed.  In order to achieve the goal of a malaria-free world, annual spending requirements needs to more than double from the current level to $6.4 billion by 2020.


  • Child health coverage

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  • Malaria mortality as a cause of death in children under 5

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Notes on the data

The following is the Sustainable  Development Goal indicators for the monitoring of malaria:

Sustainable Development Goal Target Malaria specific indicator
Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages Target 3.3 By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases 3.3.3  Malaria incidence per 1,000 population

* This indicator refers to antimalarial treatment among all children with fevers, rather than among confirmed malaria cases, and thus should be interpreted with caution.

For additional information, visit the latest Household Survey Indicators for Malaria Control manual.