Insecticide-treated nets, the most widespread intervention have substantially reduced malaria disease incidence across Africa.
Photo: © Arne Hoel / The World Bank

Malaria control halves infections over the last 15 years

The efforts of the international community over the past 15 years have reduced malaria risk levels for many millions of people, and large regions of Africa are now in a position to consider elimination strategies. Despite this progress, millions of people remain at risk of malaria disease and death in Africa in 2015, says a report.

‘‘The effect of malaria control on Plasmodium falciparum in Africa between 2000 and 2015‘‘, a study by the Malaria Atlas Project, has quantified the attributable effect of malaria disease control efforts in Africa. The authors of the study found that Plasmodium falciparum infection prevalence in endemic Africa halved and the incidence of clinical disease fell by 40 per cent between 2000 and 2015. The protozoan parasite Plasmodium falciparum is responsible for 85 per cent of all Malaria infections.

According to the study, since the year 2000, a concerted campaign against malaria has led to unprecedented levels of intervention coverage across sub-Saharan Africa. Understanding the effect of this control effort is vital for planning future control efforts.  The effect of malaria interventions across the varied epidemiological settings of Africa still remains poorly understood owing to the absence of reliable surveillance data and the simplistic approaches underlying current disease estimates.

The study therefore links a large database of malaria field surveys with detailed reconstructions of changing intervention coverage to directly evaluate trends from 2000 to 2015, and quantify the attributable effect of malaria disease control efforts.
Insecticide-treated nets, the most widespread intervention, were by far the largest contributor (68 per cent of cases averted). The report states that current malaria interventions, although still below target levels, have substantially reduced malaria disease incidence across the continent. Increasing access to these interventions, and maintaining their effectiveness in the face of insecticide and drug resistance, should form a cornerstone of post-2015 control strategies. The study was published in Nature in August 2015.


More information:
   The Malaria Atlas Project                              Download Study

(Nature/Ob)

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