The Economic Impact of Malaria: Why Investing in Prevention is Critical

Economic Impact

Can malaria control and prevention efforts have a positive impact on workforce productivity?

The Economic Impact of Malaria: Understanding Why Investing in Prevention is Critical for Health

Malaria is a preventable and treatable vector-borne disease that continues to affect millions of people around the world each year, causing hardship, suffering and death. Despite its preventability, malaria continues to be one of the most costly diseases to humanity, both economically and in terms of human health. In this article, we discuss the economic impact of malaria, exploring how prevention and treatment investments can help to reduce its burden.

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The Economic Burden of Malaria

Malaria affects people across the world, but it has a particularly high economic toll in Africa. Every year, more than 400,000 African children under five succumb to the disease. The costs associated with malaria are high, not only in lives lost, but also economically. In Sub-Saharan Africa, malaria accounts for up to 40 percent of public health expenditure, putting a strain on many countries’ already-strained budgets. In addition, malaria reduces gross domestic product (GDP) growth by up to 1.3 percent annually.

The Effects of Malaria on Developing Countries

In the developing world, malaria has a devastating impact on society. Not only are children particularly vulnerable to the disease, but it also affects pregnant women and their newborns, along with adults and the elderly. In communities where malaria is endemic, it also inhibits economic growth, as chronic and recurring illness can contribute to chronic poverty, meaning families are forced to divert their resources towards healthcare and away from other essential needs.

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Why Investing in Prevention is Critical for Sustainable Development

Investment in the prevention and treatment of malaria are essential for the sustainable development of communities affected by the disease. Not only are prevention and treatment efforts critical for saving lives, but they are also critical for unleashing the economic potential of communities where poverty and malaria often go hand-in-hand. Prevention and treatment investments help to reduce the burden of the disease, create jobs, and ensure individuals are able to realize their full potential.

The Benefits of Prevention and Treatment Investments

Investing in prevention and treatment for malaria can yield a number of economic benefits:

  • Reduced Healthcare Costs: Preventive measures, such as bed nets and insecticides, can reduce the amount of money needed to treat the disease.
  • Increased Productivity: Prevention efforts can help to ensure individuals are healthy and able to participate in the labor force, increasing productivity and reducing the burden on families.
  • Promote Sustainable Development: Investing in malaria prevention and treatment can help to promote sustainable development and enable communities to build a strong economic future.


Malaria presents a major economic burden for many communities around the world, particularly in developing countries. Investment in prevention and treatment is essential for reducing the burden of the disease and promoting sustainable development. By investing in preventive measures, such as bed nets and insecticides, as well as improving access to treatment, communities can move towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and improving the health and well-being of affected populations.