Shrinking the Malaria Map

UCSF Global Health Group’s Malaria Elimination Initiative (MEI)

History of Malaria Elimination and Eradication

 In 1900, nearly every country in the world had malaria. To ambitiously address malaria, WHO launched the Global Malaria Eradication Program (GMEP) in 1955. While the campaign was successful in North America, Europe, and Australia, many high-burden countries lacked the technical assistance, funding, and infrastructure needed to achieve and sustain elimination. Although WHO discontinued GMEP in 1969, many countries continued to shrink the malaria map by implementing malaria control and elimination activities within their borders.  

Decades later, the Millennium Development Goals renewed attention and resources to the global fight against malaria. Effective interventions, such as insecticide-treated nets and indoor residual spraying with insecticides, were widely implemented, and funding from the Global Fund supported these efforts.  Between 2000 and 2015, malaria incidence fell by 37% globally and death rates by 60%.

Because of this great progress — underpinned by strong political and financial commitments, new tools, and new approaches — elimination became a renewed focus for the global malaria community and for many countries. In 2007, just before Bill and Melinda Gates called for a bold commitment to eradicate malaria, the MEI began to catalyze support for malaria elimination through building consensus and generating and disseminating new evidence on the operational, technical, and financial requirements for eliminating malaria. The MEI also instigated efforts to develop regional initiatives in the Asia Pacific and Africa, recognizing the power of sharing country-level strategies to inform coordinated regional action.

The MEI’s success in elevating malaria elimination in policy and research has been fruitful: many malaria and global health partners now recognize that malaria elimination is a feasible and worthwhile goal. Today, the World Health Organization is supporting the goal of 30 countries eliminating malaria by 2030, and a dynamic global dialogue has begun about a world free from malaria by 2040. 

View our malaria-elimination progress and projection maps for 1900-2040.