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Malaria is endemic to the poorest countries in the world, causing over a million deaths and up to 500 million clinical cases each year. About 90% of the deaths occur in Africa most are children under five. The economic losses due to malaria in Africa have recently been estimated to be about US$ 12 billion per year and the need for malaria control has been estimated at about US$3 billion.

Poorly designed irrigation and water systems, inadequate housing, poor waste disposal and water storage, deforestation and loss of biodiversity, all may be contributing factors to the most common vector-borne diseases including malaria, dengue and leishmaniasis. Land use changes are influencing the pattern of vector-borne diseases. Rapid urbanization, however, is exacerbating the situation, partly because periurban settlements often provide similar breeding environments to those in rural areas and partly because expansion of water supply has allowed year-round breeding of mosquitoes.

Through the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) global partnership, the World Bank (along with WHO, UNICEF, and UNDP) is working to half the malaria burden worldwide by the year 2010. This goal will be achieved by scaling up a set of core interventions, including rapid effective treatment at the community level, controlling the malaria vector (the mosquito) through the use of insecticide-treated bed nets and indoor-residual spraying (where appropriate), prevention of malaria during pregnancy, and epidemic preparedness and response.

In addition to the more traditional control measures, integrated environmental management of malaria works to modify and manipulate environmental conditions to minimize the risk. It was estimated that 42% of the global malaria burden, or half a million deaths annually, could be prevented by environmental management. This involves modifications and changes to the local hydrology (such as drainage), water-use practices, and general environment (landscaping, land reclamation and filling), to reduce the incidence of vector-borne diseases. An analytical paper on investigates opportunities that exist to design, construct and operate infrastructure as a sustainable means of reducing malaria transmission risks in specific settings, and makes specific recommendations.

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Last updated: 2010-10-05

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