How Can Malaria Cases and Deaths Be Reduced?
The goal of most current National Malaria Control Programs and most malaria activities is to reduce the number of malaria-related cases and deaths. To reduce malaria transmission to a level where it is no longer a public health problem is the goal of what is called malaria “control.”
“Control” of malaria differs from “elimination” or “eradication of malaria.” “Elimination” is local or regional in scope. Eradication is “global elimination.” Eradication is not achieved until malaria is gone from the natural world. These terms can be defined differently for different illnesses.
Recent increases in resources, political will, and commitment have led to discussion of the possibility of malaria elimination and, ultimately, eradication.
Where malaria exacts the largest burden, Africa, it has been extremely difficult to control. Many reasons account for this: an efficient mosquito that transmits the infection, a high prevalence of the most deadly species of the parasite, favorable climate, weak infrastructure to address the disease, and high intervention costs that are difficult to bear in poor countries.
However, the scale-up of effective, safe, and proven prevention and control interventions made possible by global support and national commitment has shown that the impact of malaria on residents of malaria-endemic countries can be dramatically reduced when these are used together.
Malaria Treatment and Prevention Interventions
Malaria control is carried out through the following recommended malaria treatment and prevention interventions. The choice of interventions depends on the malaria transmission level in the area (e.g., in areas of low transmission level, intermittent preventive treatment for pregnant women [IPTp] is usually not recommended).
- Case management (diagnosis and treatment) of patients with malaria
In most malaria-endemic countries, four interventions—case management (diagnosis and treatment), ITNs, IPTp, and IRS—make up the essential package of malaria interventions.
Occasionally, other interventions are used:
- Larval control and other vector control interventions
- Mass drug administration and Mass fever treatment
In addition, several companies and groups are at work on developing a malaria vaccine, but there is currently no effective malaria vaccine on the market.