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Trop Med Int Health. 2009 Jul;14(7):802-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3156.2009.02287.x. Epub 2009 May 26.

From malaria control to eradication: The WHO perspective.

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1
Global Malaria Programme, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.

Abstract

Efforts to control malaria have been boosted in the past few years with increased international funding and greater political commitment. Consequently, the reported malaria burden is being reduced in a number of countries throughout the world, including in some countries in tropical Africa where the burden of malaria is greatest. These achievements have raised new hopes of eradicating malaria. This paper summarizes the outcomes of a World Health Organization's expert meeting on the feasibility of such a goal. Given the hindsight and experience of the Global Malaria Eradication Programme of the 1950s and 1960s, and current knowledge of the effectiveness of antimalarial tools and interventions, it would be feasible to effectively control malaria in all parts of the world and greatly reduce the enormous morbidity and mortality of malaria. It would also be entirely feasible to eliminate malaria from countries and regions where the intensity of transmission is low to moderate, and where health systems are strong. Elimination of malaria requires a re-orientation of control activity, moving away from a population-based coverage of interventions, to one based on a programme of effective surveillance and response. Sustained efforts will be required to prevent the resurgence of malaria from where it is eliminated. Eliminating malaria from countries where the intensity of transmission is high and stable such as in tropical Africa will require more potent tools and stronger health systems than are available today. When such countries have effectively reduced the burden of malaria, the achievements will need to be consolidated before a programme re-orientation towards malaria elimination is contemplated. Malaria control and elimination are under the constant threat of the parasite and vector mosquito developing resistance to medicines and insecticides, which are the cornerstones of current antimalarial interventions. The prospects of malaria eradication, therefore, rest heavily on the outcomes of research and development for new and improved tools. Malaria control and elimination are complementary objectives in the global fight against malaria.

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