UCSF Convenes Groundbreaking Commission to Inform Path towards Malaria Eradication

A newly launched Lancet Commission on Malaria Eradication will convene experts from around the world to inform efforts to eradicate malaria – an age-old disease that still claims nearly half a million lives each year. The Commission is a joint endeavor between The Lancet and the Global Health Group at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and will complement the WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group on Malaria Eradication. The Commission’s work commences during a pivotal time for the malaria community, with endemic countries, donors and partners preparing to assemble in Dakar and London later this month to revitalize action and investment to end the disease.

Lancet Commission will help inform eradication efforts

With financial support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Lancet Commission on Malaria Eradication will develop a detailed analysis of why and how malaria eradication should be pursued, including the costs and potential return on investment. Through mapping and modeling, the Commission will determine key factors that will positively or negatively affect malaria transmission. In addition to proposing solutions for the highest burden areas, experts will explore the potential impact of future innovations and describe the operational requirements for achieving global eradication, including those related to health systems, leadership, and management. The Commission’s work will be featured in a report, to be published by The Lancet in 2019.

Says Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet, “In 2010, UCSF led the Lancet series on malaria elimination that helped mobilize the malaria community around the goal of ending transmission of the disease. Now, they are well-positioned to take this work to the next level, informing the steps that must be taken to eradicate the disease once and for all.”

UCSF will convene 24 of the world’s leading scientists, policymakers and implementation experts, and the Commission will be chaired by Sir Richard Feachem, DSc(Med), PhD, who directs the Global Health Group at UCSF’s Institute for Global Health Sciences. Commissioners have expertise in global development, disease eradication, drug resistance, economics, spatial epidemiology, evolutionary biology and more. The UCSF Global Health Group’s first initiative, the Malaria Elimination Initiative, will serve as the Secretariat for the Commission.

The world is at a key moment in the malaria fight

2018 is a critical year for the malaria community. Over the past twenty years, unprecedented progress in driving down cases and shrinking the malaria map has fueled optimism that the fight against malaria can be won. Now, one hundred countries are malaria free and 35 additional countries are working to achieve this goal by 2030. But a recent uptick in malaria cases in the Americas and Africa and a concurrent decrease in available funding, as reported in the WHO World Malaria Report last year, has been cause for global concern. Eradication, meaning permanently ending transmission of malaria across the globe, is the only way to end the burden of the disease once and for all.

Over the next two weeks, world leaders, health ministers, researchers, business leaders and other stakeholders will gather at the Multilateral Initiative on Malaria conference in Dakar, April 15-20, and at the Malaria Summit during the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in London on April 18. During these high-level meetings, malaria-endemic countries, donors and partners will address these global threats and renew their political, financial and scientific commitments to defeating the disease – action that will be critical to accelerating efforts, addressing key challenges and helping maintain focus on the ultimate goal of eradication.

“Now more than ever, we need guidance for how malaria can be eradicated.” says Feachem. “It is the only way to end the burden of the disease, and to ensure that the progress made over the last two decades is not lost. We believe that eradicating malaria is possible, and the Commission’s work will help show how this can be accomplished.”

Related Links

Malaria Elimination Initiative

Our Work: Malaria

WHO Global Malaria Programme