Malaria, an ancient scourge of mankind, causes a heavy burden of mortality and morbidity in populations living in tropical and subtropical regions around the globe. According to the World Health Organization (WHO report 2021), about 241 million clinical malaria cases were reported in 2020 and about 627,000 patients, primarily children below the age of 5, died from malaria – more than 1,700 young lives lost every single day.
Countries where malaria is endemic face serious public health problems. The disease causes not only severe individual suffering, it has also a deleterious impact on people’s lifes including education, worker productivity, fertility and medical costs. Important and increasingly urgent, malaria severely impedes travel to endemic areas, and, concomitantly, investments and exchange of experts, crucial preconditions for infrastructural and economic development.
Global programs to fight malaria, including eradication of the mosquito carrier, bednets, etc. have been somewhat successful, particularly during the past decade. However, in spite of political commitment, much of the success relies on a high degree of compliance.
The ultimate success in any malaria elimination (local) or eradication (global) program will depend on the development of effective malaria vaccines and medication, especially in light of growing resistances against available malaria treatments.