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Protest signs in Caracas, Venezuela, where a drug shortage has exacerbated a massive malaria outbreak. Photo: Roman Camacho/NurPhoto via Getty Images

In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) adopted its ambitious Global Technical Strategy for Malaria (GTS) for 2030: eliminate malaria in 35 countries, reduce malaria incidence and deaths by 90% and prevent resurgence in malaria-free countries.

Where it stands: Significant progress has been made, but malaria remains a major threat — killing one child every two minutes — and is experiencing a resurgence. To meet the GTS targets, current funding will have to more than double to $6.5 billion by 2020.

The background: In the last decade, philanthropic and government spending on malaria control increased 15-fold, hitting an estimated $2.7 billion per year since 2010. (The U.S. is the largest donor, contributing a little over 30% of the 2016 total.)

The impact, per the WHO:

  • Between 2000 and 2015, malaria incidence fell by 37% and mortality by 50%, averting 6.8 million deaths.
  • In that time, 17 countries — including China, Senegal and Bolivia — eliminated malaria and 21 came close.
  • Between 2010 and 2016, malaria deaths for children under five declined from 440,000 to 285,000.

But funding and treatment breakthroughs have recently plateaued: 2016 saw 5 million more cases than 2015. While a rise in resistance to antimalarial medication and sprays is partly to blame, conflict and economic shocks in countries like Nigeria, South Sudan, Yemen and Venezuela have also contributed.

Poor, rural and indigenous populations — especially in conflict and post-conflict settings — remain the hardest hit. As of 2016, 15 countries in sub-Saharan Africa carried 80% of the global malaria burden. Their high infection rates are compounded by insufficient domestic budgets and struggling health systems.

What to watch: The WHO rolled out a new child vaccine in three African countries earlier this year. But for a sustainable solution, afflicted countries need enough money to fortify their local health systems.

Tanvi Nagpal is acting director of the International Development Program and Practitioner in Residence at Johns Hopkins SAIS.

Go deeper

Biden plans to ask public to wear masks for first 100 days in office

Joe Biden. Photo: Mark Makela/Gettu Images

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris sat down with CNN on Thursday for their first joint interview since the election.

The big picture: In the hour-long segment, the twosome laid out plans for responding to the pandemic, jump-starting the economy and managing the transition of power, among other priorities.

The quick FCC fix that would get more students online

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As the pandemic forces students out of school, broadband deployment programs aren't going to move fast enough to help families in immediate need of better internet access. But Democrats at the Federal Communications Commission say the incoming Biden administration could put a dent in that digital divide with one fast policy change.

State of play: An existing FCC program known as E-rate provides up to $4 billion for broadband at schools, but Republican FCC chairman Ajit Pai has resisted modifying the program during the pandemic to provide help connecting students at home.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

America's hidden depression

Biden introduces his pick for Treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, on Dec. 1. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Biden faces a fragile recovery that could easily fall apart, as the economy remains in worse shape than most people think.

Why it matters: There is a recovery happening. But it's helping some people immensely and others not at all. And it's that second part that poses a massive risk to the Biden-Harris administration's chance of success.