Nature 415, 680-685 (7 February 2002) | doi:10.1038/415680a

The economic and social burden of malaria

Jeffrey Sachs1,2 & Pia Malaney1


Where malaria prospers most, human societies have prospered least. The global distribution of per-capita gross domestic product shows a striking correlation between malaria and poverty, and malaria-endemic countries also have lower rates of economic growth. There are multiple channels by which malaria impedes development, including effects on fertility, population growth, saving and investment, worker productivity, absenteeism, premature mortality and medical costs.

  1. Center for International Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, 79 John F. Kennedy St., Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA
  2. Commission on Macroeconomics and Health, World Health Organization, Avenue Appia 20, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland

Correspondence to: Pia Malaney1 (e-mail: Email: