Despite being both preventable and treatable, malaria still kills around 660,000 people each year. The most frequent victims are poor women and children in Africa. Malaria continues to take a child's life every minute.
In the past decade, a massive mobilization of political will, funding and technical expertise has led to dramatic reductions in malaria cases and deaths: African malaria deaths are down by one third and worldwide by a quarter. More than a million lives have been saved from malaria, most of them among children under 5 years of age. Fifty countries are on track to reduce their malaria cases by 75% by 2015, in line with Roll Back Malaria targets. Reaching these targets will clear the way to also achieving other Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), in particular those related to child survival and maternal health.
The biggest challenge that impedes further progress against malaria is inadequate resources. If funding for malaria programmes slows, the priceless gains that have been made so far could be lost in a single malaria season.
Invest in the future: Defeat malaria is a three-year communication campaign aimed at boosting action towards 2015 malaria-related goals and targets. By highlighting and benchmarking against three sets of critical milestones, the campaign provides a window on political commitment, new investments and action taken to overcome new and ongoing challenges.
Campaign attention focused on actions to address the predicted malaria funding gap in eight key malaria-endemic countries in Africa.
The campaign broadened its scope to report on progress in scaling up malaria interventions in a further ten high malaria burden countries in the African Region.
The focus will extend further, to include progress towards 2015 malaria goals and targets in all malaria-endemic countries, including the malaria-related Millennium Development Goals.