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The economic and social burden of malaria


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.

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Figure 1: Global distribution of malaria.
Figure 2: Global distribution of per capita GDP.


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This work was carried out under Program on Malaria, Economics and Human Affairs, directed by A. Spielman at the Center for International Development. This article has benefited greatly from Dr Spielman's support and ongoing tutelage in the scientific and epidemiological aspects of the malaria disease and vector. We are also grateful to E. Weinstein for valuable insights, to J. Gallup for previous collaboration, and to A. Kiszewski for sharing his entomological expertise. Excellent research assistance was provided by E. Gummerson.

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Correspondence to Pia Malaney.

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Sachs, J., Malaney, P. The economic and social burden of malaria. Nature 415, 680–685 (2002).

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