Photo: Jaya Banerji/MMV

Malaria transmission characteristics

In 2022, around 34.5% of estimated global P. vivax cases and 14% of reported cases occured in Ethiopia. With a population exceeding 100 million, around 70 million people are at risk of malaria. There were an estimated 2.4 million malaria cases in Ethiopia in 2022.4

Malaria transmission is highly seasonal. The June–September rainy period contributes to the major transmission season and this occurs nationwide. In some areas there is also a minor transmission season between April–May following the February–March small/Belg rains. Transmission typically occurs in areas up to 2000m elevation, but has been known to occur at elevations up to 2300m. 

Elevation above sea level

Malaria risk


Population, % (June 2020)

≥2000 m




<2000 m


>0 to <5



≥5 to <100





Source: Ethiopia Malaria Operational Plan FY 2022. USAID: Washington, DC, 2022. 

Malaria surveillance

The public health sector surveillance system is is based primarily on parasitogical confirmed cases in Ethiopia, although some clinical diagnosis of cases still occurs. A substantial proportion of patients use the private sector or do not seek treatment. Reported malaria cases were approximately 33.90% of estimated cases in 2022.

2020 milestones/ malaria elimination

The 2020 milestone for at least a 40% decrease in malaria mortality versus 2015 data has been achieved.1 

By 2017 a 31% reduction in P. vivax reported cases was achieved versus 2015. However, Ethiopia is not on track for a 40% reduction in malaria cases by 2020 (P. falciparum and P. vivax).1

The Current National Malaria Strategic Plan (NMSP) includes an elimination target for 50 selected districts by 2020.2 

Treatment policy for P. vivax 

  • Chloroquine.3
  • Primaquine 0.25 mg/kg/day for 14 days to be given with close clinical and laboratory follow up at health post, health centre and hospital levels.3
  • Diagnosis and treatment is free of charge in the public sector.3

G6PD testing policy

G6PD testing before treatment with primaquine is not recommended in national treatment guidelines. 

G6PD deficiency prevalence

G6PD deficiency prevalence is generally low (<5%), but higher in certain ethnic groups.