Toward a malaria-free Zambia

PATH/Gabe Bienczycki

PATH/Gabe Bienczycki

Zambia has made a bold commitment to malaria elimination. To help realize that goal, MACEPA is partnering with the Government of Zambia to develop strategies to eliminate malaria parasites in target areas.

Zambia’s successful scale-up

MACEPA has been working in collaboration with Zambia’s National Malaria Control Programme since 2005. The initial goal of the project was to prove that scaling up existing tools, such as long lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) and indoor spraying of insecticides (IRS), and quality case management could dramatically reduce malaria prevalence. Zambia’s scale-up efforts have resulted in significant progress—malaria parasitemia was reduced by almost 54 percent in children under five between 2006 and 2008. The Zambian approach has been replicated in other countries across Africa.

Moving from malaria control to eliminationZambia text

These strategies have reduced the malaria burden in some areas of Zambia sufficiently that the government is confident that it can eliminate the disease altogether. Current tools will continue to be used, but to accelerate progress and to find and cure the last cases, new, complementary approaches also are needed.

People who have been repeatedly exposed to malaria develop some immunity and are able to host parasites for long periods without ever becoming ill. Current point-of-care diagnostic tools are not sensitive enough to detect all of these infections, leaving carriers able to continue to unknowingly sustain transmission in their community.

The Zambian Ministry of Health and MACEPA are evaluating community-based treatment strategies, including mass drug administration, which have the potential to clear all malaria parasites from communities. Treating everyone in a community with safe and effective anti-malaria drugs will dramatically bring down the parasite population. When used in conjunction with vector control measures (LLINs and spraying) this approach could permanently stop disease transmission, creating a “malaria-free zone” and bringing the country closer to national elimination.

Findings of the operational research will measure whether, and to what extent, mass drug administration and other strategies were able to reduce malaria.

PATH/Laura Newman

PATH/Laura Newman

For more information:

Recent research from Zambia:

MACEPA’s partners in Zambia include:

Contact information