There has been a fall of just over 20% in the number of deaths from malaria worldwide in the past decade, the World Health Organization says.
A new report said that one-third of the 108 countries where malaria was endemic were on course to eradicate the disease within 10 years.
Experts said if targets continued to be met, a further three million lives could be saved by 2015.
Malaria is one of the deadliest global diseases, particularly in Africa.
In 2009, 781,000 people died from malaria. The mosquito-borne disease is most prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa, where 85% of deaths occurred, most of them children under five.