The Global Health Group's Malaria Elimination Initiative is developing new strategies and partnerships for expanding work in two areas of research: operational research on malaria elimination through case studies, operational research to improve surveillance strategies for elimination, and research on the costs, benefits, and financing requirements and mechanisms for elimination and preventing reintroduction.
In 2012, the Global Health Group partnered with the WHO to launch a Joint Case Study Series on Malaria Elimination. The first four studies in the series were released on October 10, 2012 at the Challenges in Malaria Research conference in Basel, Switzerland. Six additional studies will be published in 2013. The Global Health Group has completed or has ongoing case study research in Bhutan, Malaysia, Namibia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka. The objective of this work is to build the evidence base to support intensification of malaria elimination as an important step in achieving international malaria targets.
The Malaria Elimination Initiative is currently conducting a clinical trial on the efficacy of the anti-malarial drug primaquine in malaria elimination settings. The study aims to provide evidence that adding a single low dose treatment of primaquine to artemisinin combination therapy (ACTs) can help reduce transmission of Plasmodium falciparum malaria and is currently underway at trial sites in Mali and Thailand. More information about MEI’s new primaquine trials can be found here.
On operational research, the Malaria Elimination Initiative is testing new methods for quickly, cost-effectively and accurately detecting and preventing importation of malaria parasites in low-endemic settings. This policy-relevant research will help malaria-eliminating countries gain an accurate understanding of how much malaria infection exists, where it is located, the origins of new cases, and strategies for preventing and controlling imported malaria – critical requirements for achieving and maintaining elimination. The work is being conducted with national malaria programs in southern Africa and Asia Pacific.
On economics research, the Malaria Elimination Initiative is collecting and analyzing country-level data on the costs of current and past malaria elimination efforts, compiling new evidence on the comparative costs and benefits of eliminating malaria, and developing new recommendations for countries and donors on sustainable, innovative financing mechanisms that can best support elimination.
The Global Health Group, in partnership with national malaria control programs of malaria-eliminating countries, is leading efforts to develop a series of eliminating country briefings. The briefings are designed for malaria donors, researchers, advocacy experts, and students, with the aim of providing information on a country’s malaria history and elimination progress, and highlighting country specific successes and challenges. The 34 country briefings will be released as they become available and will be updated periodically to track progress toward elimination.
The Global Health Group is partnering with the World Health Organization, Clinton Health Access Initiative, Johns Hopkins University and Imperial College to develop a strategic decision-making and planning tool for countries considering malaria elimination.
This Elimination Scenario Planning tool, first piloted in Zanzibar in 2009, will guide countries in conducting a thorough assessment of the technical, operational, and financial feasibility of elimination. Following the first comprehensive assessment in Zanzibar, all partners involved are working to refine the original methodology and to develop a framework for how this type of assessment can be replicated in other countries that are interested in moving towards malaria elimination.