Worst-case scenario averted,
but urgent action needed to reach global malaria targets
The 2021 edition of the report took a closer look at the impact of disruptions to malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest data show that the worst-case scenario projected by WHO – a doubling of malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa – did not come to pass. However, moderate disruptions to malaria services led to a marked increase in cases and deaths in 2020 over the previous year.
According to WHO’s latest World malaria report, there were an estimated 241 million malaria cases and 627 000 malaria deaths worldwide in 2020. This represents about 14 million more cases in 2020 compared to 2019, and 69 000 more deaths. Approximately two thirds of these additional deaths (47 000) were linked to disruptions in the provision of malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment during the pandemic.