By Dr. Martin Lukindu, Postdoctoral Researcher, Target Malaria

The World Health Organization's World Malaria Report 2023, released today, paints a concerning picture of the global state of malaria in 2022. Despite continued efforts, malaria remains a significant public health challenge, with both malaria incidence and mortality higher now than they were before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This scenario is exacerbated by the growing impact of climate change, which, alongside other challenges, threatens to reverse progress in the fight against the disease.

The report indicates an increase in global malaria cases, which rose to approximately 249 million in 2022, up by 5 million compared to 2021. Global deaths from the disease were estimated at 608,000, a nearly 6% increase since 2019. Particularly alarming is the continued high burden of the disease in Africa. The African region disproportionally bore the brunt of the malaria burden in 2022, accounting for 94% of global malaria cases and 95% of all malaria deaths. About 78% of these deaths occurred in children under the age of five. Uganda, where I live and work, is part of a group of five countries, including Ethiopia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Papua New Guinea, identified by the report as collectively accounting for a majority of the increase in global malaria cases.