During the Ethiopian civil war from 1974 to 1991, the Tigrean People's Liberation Front established a primary health care system in Tigray in which community residents helped to plan and implement health services through health committees and community health workers (CHWs). To strengthen and update this system, a Community-Based Malaria Control Programme was initiated in 1992. The primary objectives of the Programme are to reduce malaria morbidity and mortality and to prevent malaria in pregnant women through early diagnosis and treatment of cases, chemoprophylaxis during pregnancy, and vector control by environmental management. A secondary objective is to introduce a cost-sharing scheme for eventual development of a village revolving fund. A total of 681 volunteers chosen by their communities have received malaria training and serve a rural population of 1,682319 (CHW/population ratio 1:2,500). The principal success of the programme at this stage is that a significant proportion of the rural population at risk for malaria is now being treated at the village level. During the last major transmission season from September through November 1993, each CHWs treated a mean of 45178 clinical malaria cases per month. Under-utilization of treatment services by women and children under 5 years and low chemoprophylaxis coverage of pregnant women have been documented. After focus group discussions with community members and CHWs to identify the reasons for these problems, changes in programme policies were made to improve coverage of these groups. Since 1992, considerable progress toward meeting programme objectives has been made, and continued evaluation will allow for interventions that should further strengthen the malaria control efforts in the region.