India accounted for 66% of malaria cases in the World Health Organization’s South-East Asia region in 2022, according to the new World Malaria Report published by the United Nations agency.

India and Indonesia accounted for about 94% of all malaria deaths in the region last year, the World Health Organization said.

The report said that nearly 46% of all cases in the region were caused by Plasmodium vivax, a protozoal parasite and a human pathogen.

Globally, in 2022, there were an estimated 249 million malaria cases, well above the pre-pandemic figure of 233 million cases in 2019.

The World Health Organization-defined African Region accounted for about 94% of cases
globally, while the South-East Asia region, which comprises nine countries, accounted for about 2% of malaria cases globally.

Cases in the South-East Asia region declined by 76%, from 23 million in 2000 to about 5 million in 2022, the report said. Deaths also decreased by 77% from about 35,000 in 2000 to 8,000 in 2022, the report revealed.

The World Health Organization’s report, for the first time, dedicated a chapter focusing on the intersection between climate change and malaria.

“Climate change is also responsible for more extreme and frequent weather events, such as flooding, which can result in malaria epidemics or severe droughts that suppress transmission for a period but are often followed by epidemics when the rains arrive,” the report said.

“Climate change is just one of many threats to the global response to malaria,” World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted in his foreword to the report.

Ghebreyesus said that a substantial pivot with much greater resourcing, data-driven strategies, and new tools is needed to rebuild momentum in the fight against malaria.