NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


September 13, 2004

Malaria ranks among the major health and development challenges facing developing countries. Eliminating malaria should be a major goal for the developed world as a way to help the developing world, says the Milken Institute.

The humanitarian costs of malaria are significant:

  • Malaria is endemic in 91 countries that account for 40 percent of the world?s population.
  • It is responsible for more than one million death annually.
  • In sub-Saharan Africa, the most affected region, malaria-related illness claim the life of one out of every 20 children below the age of 5.

A typical bout of malaria lasts about 10 to 14 days, with four to six days of incapacitation and recuperation periods of four to eight days characterized by fatigue and weakness. This results in an average loss of four to six working days. Additionally, it is a major cause of school absenteeism, thus reducing human capital in countries that desperately need it.

Consequently, reducing and eliminating malaria is an economic windfall for affected countries. The authors find that:

  • Malaria may reduce economic growth in some African countries by more than 1 percentage point a year.
  • Eliminating malaria could increase growth by more than 0.25 percentage points per year.
  • Failing to eradicate malaria now will cost $43 billion in economic growth to some of the poorest nations in the world.

Source: F. Desmond McCarthy, Holger Wolf, and Yi Wu, "The Burden of Malaria: A Sobering Calculation," Milken Institute Review, First Quarter 2004, March 2004.

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