Reports & Research

Why Collecting Accurate Malaria Data Can Help Save Lives

Over the last 15 years, dramatic progress in the fight against malaria has prevented an estimated 4.3 million deaths1. Massive scale-up of malaria prevention and case management, backed by the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) and other major efforts, has contributed to impressive declines in incidence and mortality.

But the disease remains a global health problem, particularly affecting countries in sub-Saharan Africa, where as many as nine in 10 malaria deaths occur among children under five years old. Consistent and high-quality data are needed to help identify and address target populations and inform decision-making and the implementation of new strategies, including potential vaccines. Collecting the right information and measuring achievements can help save lives.

The USAID-funded MEASURE Evaluation project has worked to strengthen health systems and health program monitoring and evaluation (M&E) for more than 20 years. It provides technical assistance and resources to strengthen M&E of malaria control programs around the world and particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. With support from PMI, MEASURE Evaluation is developing global guidelines, evaluation protocols, indicators, tools, and survey instruments to measure the impact of global malaria control efforts.

Yazoume Yé is a senior infectious disease M&E specialist in charge of MEASURE Evaluation’s malaria program. Since 2010, Yé and team member Ashley Garley have provided technical leadership to deliver regional workshops on malaria M&E fundamentals, as well as country-specific training on demand. Participants typically include staff from national malaria control programs, nongovernmental organizations, nonprofits, and others with a professional interest in malaria control M&E.

“We provide training and resources to national malaria control program staff in sub-Saharan Africa so they have the data they need to plan and make decisions in treating and preventing malaria. To do this, we aim to build skills in monitoring and evaluation,” Yé says.

More than 200 participants have completed these workshops, which include a task to develop an M&E plan focused on a specific malaria control intervention. Participants have said the workshop helped them review their own M&E plans, based on what they learned.

Yé notes that after substantial reductions in malaria prevalence in recent years, there’s been a shift in control programs. “Most of the countries we’re working with used to have a really high prevalence—as high as above 30 percent in some countries,” he says. “But now that prevalence has come down, countries are setting their sights beyond malaria control toward complete elimination.”

With an eye toward elimination, malaria control programs will need new tools, capacities, understanding, and action. MEASURE Evaluation will continue to assist governments and health institutions in generating and using information to change interventions that are not working, and scale up those that are.

More information is available at:

[1] U.S. Agency for International Development. President’s Malaria Initiative Strategy: 2015–2020. n.d. Washington, DC: U.S. Agency for International Development. p. 3. Available at


By Dr. Yazoume Yé and Ashley Garley