Recently, much of the world’s attention has been drawn to the threat of the Zika virus. The global attention is due to a number of reasons: we are learning more about the disease every day, and it has been associated with birth defects when pregnant women are infected. Malaria—one of the most burdensome diseases throughout human history—also comes from the bite of an infected mosquito, and continues to be one of the greatest threats to the health of the global population. The World Malaria Report notes that nearly 3.3 billion people – almost half of the world’s population—are at risk for malaria infection.
In 2015, approximately 214 million people were diagnosed with malaria, and about 438,000 died from the infection.1 Malaria (and probably Zika) eradication efforts prove and will prove to be difficult, as both the mosquito and plasmodium are highly adaptable and hard to manage completely.
However, malaria control and prevention efforts have shown great success, especially within the last two decades. Since 2000, the overall risk of dying from malaria has decreased by 60%.1 Public efforts from government agencies, initiatives, and policies have helped achieve much of this success. The private sector has also played a crucial part in this decrease; around 50% of anti-malarial medications have been provided by private entities.
There are 76 programs in the Center for Health Market Innovations (CHMI) database that focus specifically on malaria and other vector-borne diseases. All of these programs focus on reducing the burden of malaria by controlling for the vector, through chemoprevention, and/or through case management. In addition, these programs utilize innovative technologies, such as mobile clinics, telemedicine, and rapid diagnostic tools to prevent and treat malaria in communities across the globe.
In honor of World Malaria Day, read more for five programs in the CHMI database that tackle malaria with innovative and tested approaches.
Located in in 13 rural villages throughout Papua New Guinea, Marasin Stoa Kipas (MSK) trains women to use rapid diagnostic tools and pre-packed malarial medication in order to treat and test patients for malaria. Testing for malaria is free at kiosks, and minimal fees are charged for malaria medications. MSK has not only helped to decrease the number of people with malaria in rural areas throughout Papua New Guinea, but also helps to serve in empowering women financially, as women get to keep a percentage of the profits and re-invest in their business.
A to Z Textiles is the largest producer of insecticide-treated nets on the African continent. Located in Tanzania, A to Z Textiles relies on public-private partnerships to operate and produce 30 million nets a year. The for-profit organization has partnered with UNICEF to buy and distribute nets, Exxon Mobile to buy resin for the nets, and the government of Tanzania to promote bed-net use through social media channels. A to Z’s bed nets are effective for five years, and the company provides jobs to more than 7,000 people throughout African countries, and primarily employs women.
Three of the most at-risk groups for dying from malaria are children under five, pregnant women, and people living with HIV/AIDS. In Uganda, Stop Malaria Project (SMP) aims to reach at least 85% of these populations with preventative measures, such as Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy for treatment of uncomplicated malaria, Intermittent Presumptive Treatment of malaria in pregnancy, and the use of Long-Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets. SMP’s impact evaluation reports that the ownership of an insecticide-treated net increased from 42% to 61% from 2009 to 2011, and that over 24 million nets were distributed from 2008-2015. SMP has also focused on scaling-up laboratory capacity for diagnoses by training over 1,300 health workers in malaria identification and microscopy.2
Mama-Toto Mobile Clinic diagnoses, treats, and educates patients in rural areas of southeastern Kenya through a mobile-clinic model. Community Health Workers (CHWs) equip motorbikes with anti-malarial medications, Malaria Rapid Tests, and mosquito nets. The CHWs ride to rural areas and conduct tests, diagnose, and treat malaria patients. Recently, Mama-Toto Mobile Clinic scaled-up and now serves the Maasai communities on the border of Kenya and Tanzania. Patients are charged small fees for treatments and medications, but are not turned away if they cannot pay. The clinic also employs nurses to teach health literacy, and hires actresses to tell “Health Stories” for residents. Mama-Toto Mobile Clinic serves over 5,000 people per year.
The PHMC Integrated Program in Indonesia works to reduce malaria cases in the Mimika Regency area. The program focuses specifically on reducing the burden of malaria in populations of the lowland areas, in addition to employees of the PT Freeport Indonesia mining company. The PHMC Integrated Program partners with various non-profits, for-profits, and government agencies on initiatives to control malaria vectors, including indoor residual spraying and educating residents on source reduction. Lembaga Pengembangan Masyarakat Amungme dan Kamoro (LPMAK), a non-profit, researches malaria and conducts monitoring and evaluation for the PHMC Integrated Program. LPMAK tested students for malaria after program implementation and found a six percent decrease in cases.
Of the 97 countries with on-going malaria transmission, 26 of them are in various steps of malaria elimination, and more are continuing to reach these phases.3 Malaria is a preventable disease, and efforts from global health programs continue to show that preventing mortality and morbidity from malaria is attainable. CHMI will continue to profile organizations that aim to prevent, diagnose, and treat malaria. If your organization works in malaria prevention, create a CHMI profile today to be included in the database and posts like these.
Photo: Indoor Residual Spraying in Ethiopia. Photo ©USAID Ethiopia