Guidelines for the Treatment of Malaria

3rd edition. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2015.


Malaria case management, which consists of prompt diagnosis and effective treatment, remains a vital component of malaria control and elimination strategies. This third edition of the WHO Guidelines for the treatment of malaria contains updated recommendations based on new evidence as well as a recommendation on the use of drugs to prevent malaria in high-risk groups.

The core principles underpinning this edition include: early diagnosis and prompt, effective treatment; rational use of antimalarial treatment to ensure that only confirmed malaria cases receive antimalarials; the use of combination therapy in preventing or delaying development of resistance; and appropriate weight-based dosing of antimalarials to ensure prolonged useful therapeutic life and an equal chance of being cured for all patients.

The Guidelines include recommendations on the diagnosis and treatment of uncomplicated and severe malaria by all species, including in special at-risk populations (such as young children, pregnant women, TB or HIV/AIDS patients and non-immune travellers) and situations (such as epidemics and humanitarian emergencies), and on the use of drugs to prevent malaria in groups at high risk. They aim:

  1. to assist policy-makers to design and refine effective national treatment policies on the basis of the best available evidence;

  2. to help hospital and clinical care providers to design and refine effective treatment protocols on the basis of the best available evidence;

  3. to promote the use of safe, effective malaria treatment; and

  4. to protect currently effective malaria treatment against the development of resistance.

The recommendations in the main document are brief. For those who wish to study the evidence base in more detail, a series of annexes are provided with references to the appropriate sections of the main document.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Practice Guideline