Evaluating the impact of malaria control on Plasmodium falciparum in Africa

Since the year 2000, a concerted campaign against malaria has led to unprecedented levels of intervention coverage across sub-Saharan Africa. Understanding the effect of this control effort is vital to inform future control planning. However, the effect of malaria interventions across the varied epidemiological settings of Africa remains poorly understood owing to the absence of reliable surveillance data and the simplistic approaches underlying current disease estimates.

A study by the Malaria Atlas Project, published in Nature in 2015, quantified the attributable effect of malaria disease control efforts in Africa. We found that Plasmodium falciparum infection prevalence in endemic Africa halved and the incidence of clinical disease fell by 40% between 2000 and 2015. We estimate that interventions have averted 663 million clinical cases since 2000. Insecticide-treated nets, the most widespread intervention, were by far the largest contributor. Although still below target levels, current malaria interventions have substantially reduced malaria disease incidence across the continent.


This work was done in collaboration with:

  • The Institute for Disease Modelling, Seattle, USA.
  • Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Imperial College London, London, UK
  • World Health Organization Global Malaria Programme, Geneva, Switzerland
  • Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel,Switzerland
  • Malaria Elimination Initiative, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco,  USA
  • Center for Applied Malaria Research and Evaluation, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, USA
  • Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Bath, Bath, UK
  • Clinton Health Access Initiative, Boston, USA
  • Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, Seattle, USA