Eliminating malaria from Europe by 2015: realistic and attainable

Intensive anti-malaria interventions cut the number of reported autochthonous malaria cases in the WHO European Region from 90 712 in 1995 to 102 in 2011, including a small outbreak of 40 “Plasmodium vivax” cases reported in Laconia, Greece.

Since 2008, all malaria-affected countries in the Region have turned towards elimination and revised their national strategies to reflect new realities. A country that has had zero locally acquired malaria cases for at least three consecutive years can ask WHO to certify it as malaria free. Eliminating malaria from the Region by 2015 is a realistic and attainable goal, and WHO has certified three countries – Turkmenistan, Armenia and Kazakhstan – as malaria free since 2010. Georgia is about to start the certification process.

World Malaria Day is 25 April.

Global picture

Around the world, 99 countries have continuing malaria transmission, and as many as 3.3 billion people are at risk of infection. WHO estimates that about 216 million cases occurred in 2010 (uncertainty range: 149–274 million) and the disease killed about 655 000 people (uncertainty range: 537 000–907 000). 86% of the cases occur in children aged under 5 years, and over 90% of malaria deaths occur in the WHO African Region.

Globally, the estimated incidence has been reduced by 17% since 2000, and malaria-specific mortality rates have fallen by 26%.

World Malaria Day

World Malaria Day (25 April) is a day for recognizing the global effort towards effective control. It is an opportunity for:

  • countries in affected regions to learn from each other’s experience and support each other’s efforts;
  • new donors to join a global partnership;
  • research and academic institutions to flag their scientific advances to both experts and general public; and
  • international partners, companies and foundations to showcase their efforts and consider how to scale up what has worked.

World Malaria Day 2012 marks a decisive juncture in the history of malaria control; the theme is “Sustain Gains, Save Lives: Invest in Malaria”. Whether the malaria map will keep shrinking, as it has in the past decade, depends heavily on the resources that will be invested in control efforts over the next few years.

World Malaria Day was instituted by the World Health Assembly in May 2007.