Malaria is a preventable and curable – yet life-threatening – disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected mosquitoes.
The World Health Organization estimates that 3.4 billion people across the world are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being most vulnerable. WHO also estimates that in 2013 there were 198 million cases of malaria, which led to 584,000 deaths, mostly among African children
How malaria works:
- Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites, transmitted to people by anopheles mosquitoes.
- Of the four parasites that cause malaria in humans, two (Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum) are the most common, and the latter is the most deadly.
- After a period of incubation, malaria presents itself with initial flu-like symptoms that include fever, headache, chills and vomiting. It is often described as an acute febrile (fever-like) illness.
- If not treated within 24 hours, P. falciparum malaria can progress to severe illness, which may lead to death or serious brain damage, especially in children and pregnant women.
We focus on a variety of interventions to improve the availability, affordability and use of effective malaria treatment. Our interventions against malaria include the delivery of long-lasting insecticide-treated nets to prevent malaria, rapid diagnostic tests to diagnose malaria, and artemisinin-based combination therapy to effectively treat malaria. #DefeatMalaria
All of our interventions are accompanied by strategic behavior change communications to increase the appropriate use of these products. We also lead research programs to inform global malaria policy and national programming decisions around the world.
Our network members play a variety of roles. These include managing national programs to support the public sector, and helping grow commercial markets for product delivery to build a more sustainable, self-funded delivery mechanism to reduce the public-sector burden.
Our in-country offices and experts work with national malaria control programs to assess the total need or market for malaria prevention and treatment. Once the market is defined, we work with partners to facilitate the delivery of approved evidence-based interventions using a tailored combination of public- and private-sector delivery channels. This holistic approach, with differing levels of subsidy for groups with different abilities to pay (free for the poorest, varying levels of subsidy for those who can afford to pay), maximizes health impact in a sustainable way at the best possible value.
We also contribute to global efforts to contain the spread of artemisinin resistance in Southeast Asia. Malaria parasites resistant to artemisinin has emerged in the Greater Mekong sub-region, with a focus in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and – more recently – Myanmar. The spread of these resistant parasites would threaten recent successes in malaria control and jeopardize the gains made to date across the malaria endemic world, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. We are working with national malaria control programs and within national and global strategic frameworks to prevent and treat malaria in the region.
Donate to support PSI’s efforts to #DefeatMalaria this #WorldMalariaDay.
To date, we have delivered more than 215 million insecticide-treated mosquito nets and more than 65 million artemisinin-based combination therapies for malaria treatment. In 2011 alone, we delivered 43 million nets, representing roughly half of all nets delivered in Africa that year.
To date, we have delivered more than 215 million insecticide-treated nets in 38 countries. We also stimulate markets to increase private sector delivery of this key malaria prevention commodity at no cost to the public sector.
- Long-Lasting Insecticide-Treated Nets: We are the largest distributor of long-lasting insecticide-treated nets in the world, and we use a variety of strategies in tandem with distribution to reach and protect vulnerable populations.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Alongside rapid diagnostic test kit distribution programs, we deliver and promote artemisinin-based combination therapy, all in conjunction with tailored health communication campaigns, to ensure that people suffering from malaria are properly diagnosed and started on treatment within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms.
- Integrated Case Management: Our integrated case management programs reduce death and severe disease through prompt and effective diagnosis and treatment where and when people need it.
- Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs): We promote the use of quality assured RDTs to confirm suspected cases of malaria before supplying appropriate malaria treatment, thereby decreasing wastage of artemisinin-based combination therapy and preventing the development of dangerous drug resistance.
- Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy: We are working to ensure that children with confirmed cases of malaria receive quality-assured and effective antimalarial treatment.
- Do anti‑malarials in Africa meet quality standards? The market penetration of non quality‑assured artemisinin combination therapy in eight African countries
This paper uses national and sub-national medicine outlet surveys conducted in eight study countries (Benin, Kinshasa and Kantanga [Democratic Republic of the Congo, DRC], Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia) between 2009 and 2015 to describe the non-QAACT market and to document trends in availability and distribution of non-QAACT in the public and private sector.
- Social Marketing Evidence Base: Malaria
The Social Marketing Evidence Base was compiled from a systematic review of published literature evaluating social marketing interventions in global health. This document provides an overview of the results from the studies on malaria.
- Social Marketing Evidence Base: Child Survival
The Social Marketing Evidence Base was compiled from a systematic review of published literature evaluating social marketing interventions in global health. This document provides an overview of the results from the studies on child survival.
- Worksite Programs for Malaria Elimination: Best Practices & Lessons Learned from Cambodia
In 2013, Population Services Khmer (PSK) launched its malaria worksite program on 45 plantations in five malaria endemic provinces of Cambodia. This document summarizes the program’s key learnings and recommendations.
- Malaria Elimination: Who is Really at Risk?
This document presents an alternative approach to thinking and talking about malaria risk factors affecting mobile and migrant populations in the Greater Mekong Subregion, and how this can be translated into strategy and action.
- The GEMS Program: Greater Mekong Subregion Elimination of Malaria through Surveillance
In 2016, PSI launched GMS Elimination of Malaria through Surveillance (GEMS) in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam to strengthen case management and surveillance in the private sector to accelerate malaria elimination. This project brief describes each component of GEMS project in detail.
- Quality Issues with Malaria Rapid Diagnostic Test Accessories and Buffer Packaging: Findings from a 5‑Country Private Sector Project in Africa
This paper describes quality problems with buffer and accessories encountered in a project promoting private sector malaria rapid diagnostic test use in five African countries and suggests steps to avoid or more rapidly identify and resolve such problems.
- Infographic: The Social Marketing Evidence Base
In response to questions about the effectiveness of social marketing in global health, we systematically reviewed all literature published over two decades on social marketing for several health areas; reproductive health, malaria, child survival, and tuberculosis in developing countries. The methods and findings are summarized here in the form of an infographic.
- Webinar: Stimulating the Market for Malaria RDTs in the Private Sector
PSI, UNITAID, Malaria Consortium, FIND, and JHSPH held a webinar to discuss leveraging the power of the private sector to transform the mRDT market in support of universal access to malaria diagnostics.
- Transforming the Private Sector to Support Universal Malaria Diagnostic Coverage
To assure the available and use of malaria rapid diagnostic tests in the private sector, PSI and partners conducted a three-year project between 2013 and 2016 to increase the uptake of quality-assured mRDTs in private-sector markets in Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda by taking a market development approach to identify market failures.