MCD’s Response to the World Health Organization’s 2023 World Malaria Report
Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) published its 2023 World Malaria Report that highlights the intersection between malaria and climate change, as well as other challenges that threaten hard-earned gains in malaria control and elimination.
The report emphasizes the rapidly changing climate, funding shortfall, need for new tools, data-driven approaches, and necessary adaptation to multiple changes around the world, such as the behavior of vectors or characteristics of the malaria parasites.
We at MCD Global Health (MCD) are concerned by the published numbers of malaria cases occurring globally, which are still above pre-COVID-19 levels, and the continuously changing landscape of malaria epidemiology, including recent cases due to local transmission in the United States. This begs the question of what needs to be done differently to stop this threat that tends to affect the most vulnerable in the most devastating way?
We recognize the critical need of using strong data systems and adaptive management of malaria control interventions. For example, the use of real-time, geo-localized data gathered through our Campaign Information Management System (CIMS) in Equatorial Guinea allows us to adapt vector-control interventions in a more targeted and cost-effective way.
Another example is our work in several countries training pools of local health workers who can function as trainers and supervisors as well as oversee quality assurance efforts for better malaria diagnosis; thus, contributing to more informed country leadership and resilience.
“As we look to further our efforts in strengthening malaria control, scaling up capacity and resilience in countries where malaria is endemic is an absolute priority,” said Sandra Incardona, deputy director and senior technical lead at MCD. “Improving the quality of malaria diagnosis and adherence to clinical guidelines are just two steps in these efforts, and, importantly, strengthening overall management capacity and working closely with local partners and organizations for increased sustainability and country ownership to fight malaria.”
Over the past four decades, MCD Global Health has implemented malaria control programs that have increased the number of people who receive a high-quality and timely malaria diagnosis and treatment in close partnership with national stakeholders. In addition, MCD focuses on preventing malaria during pregnancy, vaccine clinical trials, technical assistance, and more, all with the goal of reducing the burden of malaria. MCD’s strategy prioritizes using quality data systems to support adaptive management and decision making.
In light of the changing climate, funding challenges, and evolving landscape, we call for more investments into building local capacity to lead more effective, resilient, and adaptative interventions against malaria with a focus on protecting the most vulnerable communities and individuals.