By: RBM Partnership To End Malaria

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries and partners averted what could have been a doubling of malaria deaths in 2020. The outcome – modest disruption in the malaria fight – resulted from the combination of sustained and new investments, heroic efforts by countries, partners and community health workers using innovative strategies and strong political will. Still, malaria deaths rose by 69,000 last year, with two-thirds of these due to the COVID-19 knock-on effects.

While collective efforts have saved 10.6 million lives from malaria and prevented 1.7 billion new infections since 2000, the fight against malaria is at a precarious juncture. Global investments and partnership in malaria prevention, control and elimination, exemplified by the recent decision by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to fund the first-ever malaria vaccine programme and RTS,S rollout, are essential if we are to continue saving millions of lives and strengthening health systems that can protect against malaria and new and emerging diseases.