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Sri Lanka eliminates malaria with shift in strategy

September 30, 2016 - 08:53 -- Ingeborg van Schayk

SciDev.Net article - 21-09-2016

  • Sri Lanka’s success in eliminating malaria from the island took 25 years of unrelenting efforts
  • A key move was shifting focus controlling the mosquito vector to parasite control
  • Surveillance, a major key to elimination, will continue to ensure that malaria does not return

[COLOMBO] Experts and authorities attribute Sri Lanka’s success in eliminating malaria from the island to a concerted effort by multiple programmes acting in concert with a robust national healthcare system.

Hemantha Herath, deputy director of Sri Lanka’s anti malaria campaign, tells SciDev.Net that case numbers were drastically reduced through focused malaria fighting for a quarter century. From 264,549 reported cases in 1999, Sri Lanka saw its last locally reported case in October 2012.

According to Herath the long-term eradication strategy was combined with effective web-based surveillance. “The campaign actively tracked citizens travelling from countries with a history of malaria transmission. In addition, we focused on the security forces personnel, immigrants and tourists.”

A key move, Herath notes, was the programmatic shift from vector control to parasite control.
Read the full SciDev.Net article "Sri Lanka eliminates malaria with shift in strategy" here.