The burden of malaria in countries in sub-Saharan Africa has declined with scaling up of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. To assess the contribution of specific malaria interventions and other general factors in bringing about these changes, we reviewed studies that have reported recent changes in the incidence or prevalence of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. Malaria control in southern Africa (South Africa, Mozambique, and Swaziland) began in the 1980s and has shown substantial, lasting declines linked to scale-up of specific interventions. In The Horn of Africa, Ethiopia and Eritrea have also experienced substantial decreases in the burden of malaria linked to the introduction of malaria control measures. Substantial increases in funding for malaria control and the procurement and distribution of effective means for prevention and treatment are associated with falls in malaria burden. In central Africa, little progress has been documented, possibly because of publication bias. In some countries a decline in malaria incidence began several years before scale-up of malaria control. In other countries, the change from a failing drug (chloroquine) to a more effective drug (sulphadoxine plus pyrimethamine or an artemisinin combination) led to immediate improvements; in others malaria reduction seemed to be associated with the scale-up of insecticide-treated bednets and indoor residual spraying. 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.