Shrinking the Malaria Map

UCSF Global Health Group’s Malaria Elimination Initiative (MEI)

What do we need to achieve a grand convergence in malaria?

04 March 2016

The pipeline of new tools to detect, treat, and prevent malaria has never been stronger. In collaboration with the Commission on Investing in Health Secretariat, PLOS has released a collection highlighting global health innovation that will help achieve a “grand convergence” in health. The series, Grand Convergence: Aligning Technologies and Realities in Global Health, takes a closer look at many tools currently being used, as well as those on the near-term horizon. In Tools and strategies for malaria control and elimination: what do we need to achieve a grand convergence in malaria?, the authors, including the MEI’s Rima Shretta, note that progress in fighting malaria during the past decade and the vast product development pipeline are strengthening the malaria elimination agenda.

The article urgently calls for better field diagnostic tools and new methods for detecting and preventing importation of malaria parasites in low-endemic settings. These tools and methods must be accompanied by comprehensive roll-out strategies, especially as resistance to current treatments spreads.  According to the authors, “if these interventions are properly implemented in an integrated and complementary manner, we will be able to sustain and build upon impressive reductions that have been achieved to date, significantly enhancing the prospects for malaria elimination.”

The PLOS collection of papers builds on the Lancet report Global Health 2035, by the Lancet Commission on Investing in Health, which provides a roadmap to achieve dramatic health gains within one generation. The report argued that it is possible, through a strategic investment plan, to achieve a "grand convergence" in health that would reduce avertable infectious, maternal, and child deaths down to universally low levels within a generation by aggressively scaling up health tools.