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This has to be fuel for debate... or not?

February 10, 2014 - 21:28 -- Bart G.J. Knols

As the Keystone symposium on the science of malaria eradication has come to an end, the one thing I regret is that I wasn't there to participate. It undoubtedly must have been an exciting meeting, which is clear from the messages we received from the MESA group (read them here).

The one thing that nags me is that 96% of those that filled out the poll 'Two years to go. Will we reach the MDG6 goal of 'zero deaths' by December 2015?' answered 'No'. True, only 52 members gave their opinion which by all means is only a fraction of the more than 8200 members of MalariaWorld. But still...

I would really appreciate more votes (at least 100), so please let us have your opinion (all of the votes remain anonymous, so don't hesitate).

So defining new strategies for elimination and eventually eradication is all great, but what timescale do people have in mind?

Question: The world will get rid of malaria alltogether in:

a) 10 years

b) 20 years

c) 30 years

d) We will never get rid of malaria

What do you think? Let us know by commenting directly below this blog. Thanks!


William Jobin's picture
Submitted by William Jobin on

Hi Bart,

Thanks for your thought provoking poll. For me, the term malaria includes the human malaria species found in forest primates in Gabon and southern Brazil. If you can figure out how to get apes to sleep under bednets, then we might set a time-frame for eradicating malaria.

A good historical example to use here is the glaring lack of an eradication campaign against Yellow Fever, even though we have a fairly good vaccine that is effective for over 10 years, and we know which mosquitoes are involved. When the Rockefeller Foundation developed the vaccine, they decided not to go for eradication, even just in Brazil, because of monkey fever. The same applies if we go for global eradication of human malaria species.

But if we restrict ourselves to the real killer of children in Africa, and think about eliminating only falciparum malaria from Africa, then I can start to imagine a program.

My choice for the time-frame would be something greater than 30 years though. If we made huge social changes through community action, as well as applying all the technical fixes available, I would guess 2 human generations would be needed - so 40 to 50 years.

In social action they say it takes 2 generations to make a change - at a minimum.


William Jobin Director of Blue Nile Associates