World Malaria Day 2021 coincides with the 15th anniversary of the United States President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) and follows the first anniversary of the declaration of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. From 2006 to the present, the PMI has led to considerable country-managed progress in malaria prevention, care, and treatment in 24 of the highest-burden countries in sub-Saharan Africa and three countries in the Southeast Asia Greater Mekong subregion. Furthermore, it has contributed to a 29% reduction in malaria cases and a 60% reduction in the death rates in sub-Saharan Africa. In this context of progress, substantial heterogeneity persists within and between countries, such that malaria control programs can seek subnational elimination in some populations but others still experience substantial malaria disease and death. During the COVID-19 pandemic, most malaria programs have shown resilience in delivering prevention campaigns, but many experienced important disruptions in their care and treatment of malaria illness. Confronting the COVID-19 pandemic and building on the progress against malaria will require fortitude, including strengthening the quality and ensuring the safety and resiliency of the existing programs, extending services to those currently not reached, and supporting the people and partners closest to those in need.
Address correspondence to Richard W. Steketee, U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the United States Agency for International Development.