Socio-economic impact of malaria and the status of malaria research in South Africa

Malaria is the world’s most important parasitic disease. Clearly a disease of poverty, commonly referred to as a “neglected disease”, it rates amongst one of the major health and development challenges facing many of the poorest countries in the world.

At the end of 2004, 107 countries and territories had areas at risk of malaria transmission, with about 40% of the world’s population living in these areas. Up to 500 million clinical cases and 2 million deaths are reported annually, of which 57% occur in Africa, 30% in Asia and around 5% in the Americas.

Although millions of patients are affected by parasitic diseases every year, their inability to pay for market-financed products has resulted in a lack of innovative products and only 10% of global R&D resources directed at such diseases, including malaria, that account for 90% of the global disease burden.

The South African Malaria Initiative (SAMI) contracted Dr Lorraine Thiel to gather information about the scale of the malaria problem, the international funding streams and the local role players in malaria research. Two reports, funded by the Department of Science and Technology, were submitted to DST in October this year.

These reports, from which the above extracts have been taken, are made available here as downloadable pdf files. They remain the property of the Department of Science and Technology.

Report Section 1 – PDF file size 612 KB
Gathering of Data on the Global Epidemiology of the Malaria Threat, Applied Interventions and Socio-economic Impact

Report Section 2 – PDF file size 913 KB
Gathering of Data on the Funding Mechanisms for Malaria Research and the Status of Malaria Research in South Africa