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World Malaria Day

  • 26 Apr 2023
  • 6 min read

For Prelims: Malaria - causes, symptoms, vaccine, Efforts to Control Malaria

For Mains: Health, Malaria and its Eradication

Why in News?

World Malaria Day is observed every year on 25th April.

  • It was established by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2007 to raise awareness about malaria.
  • The theme for World Malaria Day 2023 is "Time to deliver zero malaria: invest, innovate, implement".

What is Malaria?

  • About:
    • Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by the Plasmodium parasite.
      • This parasite is transmitted to humans through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.
    • Malaria is most common in tropical and subtropical regions of the world, including sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and South America.
      • While Plasmodium falciparum is responsible for more deaths, Plasmodium vivax is the most widespread of all of the malaria species.
  • Symptoms:
    • Once inside the human body, the parasites multiply in the liver and then infect red blood cells, causing symptoms such as fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and fatigue.
    • In severe cases, malaria can lead to organ failure, coma, and death.
  • Vaccine:
    • Till now, no malaria vaccine has shown the benchmark efficacy of 75% set by WHO. Still, WHO gave a go-ahead for the first malaria vaccine called RTS,S to be rolled out in high transmission African countries understanding the urgency of malaria control and prevention.
      • It has relatively low efficacy somewhere between 30-40%.
      • This vaccine has been developed by a collaborative effort of several organisations including GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation etc.
    • In India, Bharat Biotech has been granted license to manufacture this vaccine.
      • Similar to RTS,S vaccine the Oxford University has developed a vaccine called R21 which is still waiting for the WHO’s approval.
        • Ghana and Nigeria have approved this vaccine for use in their countries.
        • It is also being manufactured by Serum Institute of India.
  • Malaria Cases:
    • As per the World Malaria Report 2022, the disease claimed the lives of an estimated 6,19,000 people in 2021.
    • The report also highlighted that India has shown a significant decline in malaria cases and deaths in past 10 years.

What are the Efforts Made to Contain Malaria?

  • Globally:
    • Global Malaria Program:
      • It was launched by WHO and is responsible for coordinating WHO's global efforts to control and eliminate malaria.
      • Its work is guided by the "Global technical strategy for malaria 2016–2030”.
        • The strategy aims to reduce malaria case incidence and mortality rates by at least 40% by 2020, at least 75% by 2025 and at least 90% by 2030 against a 2015 baseline.
    • Malaria Elimination Initiative:
      • It was launched by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
      • This initiative focuses on eliminating malaria in certain regions of the world through a combination of strategies, including increasing access to effective treatments, reducing the mosquito population, and developing new tools and technologies to combat the disease.
    • E-2025 initiative:
      • In 2021, WHO launched the E-2025 initiative to halt the transmission of malaria in 25 identified countries by 2025.
  • India’s efforts:


  • India’s aim is to be malaria-free by 2027 and to eliminate the disease by 2030. Through various measures, the country has made stupendous progress in thwarting malaria, by reducing the disease by 66% between 2018 and 2022.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Questions (PYQs)

Q. Widespread resistance of malarial parasite to drugs like chloroquine has prompted attempts to develop a malarial vaccine to combat malaria. Why is it difficult to develop an effective malaria vaccine? (2010)

(a) Malaria is caused by several species of Plasmodium
(b) Man does not develop immunity to malaria during natural infection
(c) Vaccines can be developed only against bacteria
(d) Man is only an intermediate host and not the definitive host

Ans: (b)

Source: IE

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