Shrinking the Malaria Map

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


Malaria testing.

In any malaria setting, the objective of a surveillance system is to enable the malaria program to respond to cases. Response can be as simple as treating a case that is detected at a health facility or it can be more complex, such as actively screening people in communities.

When malaria transmission is reduced and a country is nearing elimination, the malaria program should be able to investigate and follow up on every malaria case that is reported through its surveillance system. This response must be both rapid and precise in order to prevent malaria from spreading further and to target individuals who are at greatest risk.

Response operations are logistically challenging and resource-intensive. There is no one-size-fits-all response that will work for every malaria-eliminating country. Future research is required to improve programmatic responses to miss fewer infections, enhance targeting of resources, and improve overall safety, efficacy, and effectiveness. Response as a part of an aggressive elimination strategy is particularly important in places where insecticide and antimalarial drug resistance threatens progress such as Southeast Asia.

The MEI’s Work on Response for Malaria Elimination includes:

  • Carrying out country-level research to provide evidence on the effectiveness of response strategies that are not part of standard practice and for which there is limited evidence to guide practice or policy, e.g, the primaquine dose escalation study.
  • Assisting countries in implementing practical MEI-developed tools which support country programs in safely introducing medications to treat malaria infections.
  • Conducting research in countries to establish the barriers, gaps, and challenges to introducing testing that is crucial for determining safe treatment options.
  • Playing a pivotal role in advocating for coordinated or multi-country response efforts, particularly within the context of regional collaborations.
  • Coordinating response-focused working groups and meetings and making recommendations to the WHO as a result of these consensus-building meetings.
  • Providing a forum for scientists, field researchers, pharmaceutical companies, funders and national malaria control program managers to come together to directly answer specific questions about the use of particular treatments.