Severe malaria facts

  • The whole of Ghana is at risk of malaria. Malaria in Ghana accounts for 4% of the global burden and 7% of the malaria burden in West Africa. 1
  • Malaria was responsible for 19% of all recorded deaths in Ghana in 2015. 2
    • Malaria-attributable mortality has declined significantly from 19% (2010) to 4.2% (2016).3
    • Malaria under 5 years’ case fatality rate declined from 15% to 11% from 2010 to 2016.4
    • The health facility case fatality rate among children under five years of age declined from 14 percent in 2000 to less than half a percent in 2016.5
  • Malaria admissions increased from 280,000 to 340,000 persons between 2000 and 2017.6
    • Key improvements in the healthcare system include:
    • Increased access to health due to the expanding coverage of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS)
    • Expanded geographical access to health care through Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS)
    • Improved data reporting
    • Continued presumptive diagnosis of malaria

Inpatient and mortality rates

Photo: World Malaria Report 2018 Ghana country profile

Severe malaria distribution

Photo: World Malaria Report 2018 Ghana country profile

Malaria transmission rate by area (2012)

High infection area: Forest zone

  • Rural area: 269
  • Urban area: 13.5

Higher infection rate:

  • Higher rate in poorest households (52%) than the richest households (3%)
  • Higher rate in non-literate mothers (43%) than secondary education or higher (5%)

Seasonality of transmission:

  • Endemic and perennial in all parts
  • Highly seasonal malaria transmission in northern regions
  • 50-59% of clinical malaria cases occur during 4 months (July-October) in the Savannah regions: Northern, Upper East, Upper West regions

Severe malaria policy and practice

National treatment guidelines
Recommendation Treatment
Strong IV artesunate
Alternative IM artemether
Alternative IV quinine
Recommendation Pre-referral
Strong Rectal artesunate
Alternative IM artesunate
Alternative IM quinine
Alternative IM artemether
Malaria in pregnancy
Trimester Treatment
First IV or slow IM quinine
First alternative IV or IM artesunate
Second/third IV or IM artesunate

*First trimester: Avoid delay of treatment; if only one of the drugs artesunate, artemether or quinine is available, then it should be started immediately.


Sources of health financing

Photo: World Malaria Report 2018 Ghana country profile

Severe malaria commodity needs

  • 1,500,000 ampules of injectable artesunate (100 mg/1ml)
  • 100,000 rectal artesunate suppositories (Doses of 50mg and 200mg)
    • 100mg ERP approved suppositories are now recommended for use by the Expert Evaluation Committee of the Global Fund.