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Back to the basics for Malaria Control

December 9, 2011 - 22:43 -- Eric Ndofor

At this time, we should be talking about reducing malaria to an acceptable level (pre-elimination) before looking at elimination. We have not achieved pre-elimination yet even in the Americas where tremendous progress in reducing malaria has been achieved.

While the search for a malaria vaccine is taking forever, vector mosquitoes are busy developing resistance to insecticides and the parasites to antimalarials. That means we need to focus on these immediate problems. We have to consider the very basic things but require efficiency and consistency including prompt proper diagnosis and complete treatment and vector control.

I mean, it is obvious that with stronger political committment, solid social mobilization, partnerships with good chemistry, and institutional/health system strengthening, we can can beat down malaria in a short time and with any available resources; and then move on to elimination.

However, to effectively control vectors, basic and applied research is needed to understand the bionomics of vector mosquitoes by district, province/state and region. And diagnosis and treatment should be integrated with community and family health systems. People also need to change their behavior- this is a very strong component.

This blog is dedicated to poor and post-conflict settings with limited resources. Before we go to the lab to fix GM mosquitoes, do basic research on new parasite or vector species, let us intensify the basic actions for malaria control and safe the poor.

Let us all- politicians, scientists and other researchers, communities, NGOs, governments, communities, individuals, etc. commit to and be consistent with these basic things to save especially the local communities.

Comments

William Jobin's picture
Submitted by William Jobin on

Thank you Eric,

- for your refreshingly solid advice on what should be our priorities in attacking malaria.
I hear you calling for a direct attack now using available methods, and then for refining the attack by doing field research on the mosquitoes and transmission patterns. That seems to me to be a solid approach. The people doing innovative research might come up with fabulous new approaches, but in the meantime, a lot of people are dying of malaria. These are deaths that we could prevent today simply by using all the availabe methods in a sensible approach.

Your blog is dedicted to protecting the poor, and also protecting people in post-conflict situations. I agree with those priorities but also think we should start in those countries or regions which are the most stable, where our investments of resources and time will bear fruit, and where a successful start can be maintained, and then expanded.

Your viewpoint seems to be reflected in the simple poll that MalariaWorld is conducting regarding Steketee and Campbell's assertion that we can quickly eliminate malaria. The majority of respondents to the poll seem to say that it would be best to go at it in a slow and steady pace.

Bill

William Jobin Director of Blue Nile Associates