Malaria Journal 2022; 21(1): 154 -

Reflections on the 2021 World Malaria Report and the future of malaria control.

Monroe A, Williams NA, Ogoma S, Karema C, Okumu F
The World Malaria Report, released in December 2021, reflects the unique challenges currently facing the global malaria community. The report showed the devastating toll of malaria, with an estimated 627,000 people losing their lives to the disease in 2020. The improved methodological approach used for calculating cause of death for young children revealed a systematic underestimation of disease burden over the past two decades; and that Africa has an even greater malaria crisis than previously known. While countries were able to prevent the worst-case scenarios, the disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic revealed how weak health systems and inadequate financing can limit the capacity of the continent to address the malaria challenge. African countries also face a convergence of biological threats that could redefine malaria control, notably widespread pyrethroid resistance and emerging resistance to artemisinin. Despite these challenges, there is cause for optimism in lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, recent acceleration of cutting edge research and development, and new partnerships that encourage leadership from and ownership by affected countries. This article presents key insights from the 2021 World Malaria Report and reflections on the future trajectories: it was informed by an in-depth discussion with leading malaria experts from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the U.S. President's Malaria Initiative (PMI). The discussion took place during the 34th edition of the Ifakara Master Classes, held virtually on December 15th, 2021.© 2022. The Author(s).