A child dies from malaria every two minutes.

-- CNN article on Faso Soap

This doesn't sound right to me. I know Africa (the main location of malaria) is a big and populous place, but this seems too much. Is it true that a child dies from malaria every two minutes?

1 Answer 1


According to the World Health Organization:

More than two thirds (70%) of all malaria deaths occur in this age group. In 2015, about 305,000 African children died before their fifth birthdays.

This data was used by an African organization africacheck.org when trying to estimate the number of malaria deaths in children under 5 in Africa:

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Then, using a middle estimate, they calculated on average how many children die on every minute:

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The African organization was responding to a study from the University of St George's London that concluded that a child dies every 30 seconds:

One child dies from malaria every 30 seconds in Africa, but a new treatment strategy could help healthcare workers tackle the disease in a simpler way, research has revealed.

The African organization later said:

Earlier this year a science news website claimed that an African child dies of malaria every 30 seconds. But the latest and best estimate shows that it is just under every two minutes.

  • 11
    It should be noted that, technically statements of the form "X happens every Y seconds/minutes/hours/etc." generally cannot be literally correct, but instead must be assumed to have "on average" implicitly appended. Commented May 21, 2016 at 17:53
  • 1
    @RBarryYoung Here's to 'that one guy' who starts counting and at every 15 second interval goes 'dead!'.
    – Insane
    Commented May 23, 2016 at 11:54

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