Addressing the Challenges of Malaria Control
Malaria is a serious, sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that is spread to humans through the bite of infected mosquitoes. For more than 50 years, chloroquine, an inexpensive and widely available medicine, has been used to cure malaria. Today, however, the world is faced with a resurgence of malaria, fueled in part by the spread of strains of the parasite that are resistant to chloroquine and other antimalarial medicines.
Malaria is a problem in every region of the developing world. The problem is greatest in Africa, where over 80 percent of malaria cases and deaths occur. The disease affects all ages and economic groups with a devastating impact on pregnant women and children less than five years of age. In 1992, the Global Ministerial Conference on Malaria released a world declaration in Amsterdam stressing, “the urgent need for commitment to malaria control by all governments, all health and development workers and the world community. . . .” The Conference went on to say, “We have learnt that the key to success [for malaria control] is to apply the right strategies in the right place at the right time, and to apply the appropriate strategies on a sustained basis.” The 2000 Summit on Roll Back Malaria reiterated commitment to malaria control through an ambitious five-year strategy to improve treatment and prevention.
This issue of The Manager focuses on both the barriers that impede the control of malaria and promising strategies for addressing them through pharmaceutical and commodity management. Policymakers and health managers can apply some of these strategies to ensure a supply of effective antimalarial medicines and promote their correct use. They can use other strategies to promote the wide distribution of insecticide-treated nets and insecticides for re-treating these nets.