Malaria: a best buy in global health

impact coverLast week, a panel of global health experts, organized by PATH, Devex, PSI, and partners, introduced “Best Buys in Global Health,” a special issue of Impact magazine.

When it comes to determining a “best buy” in global health, the introduction to the magazine provides the short answer: “It depends.” But a survey of more than 1,000 health experts from all over the globe, and input from sector leaders with decades of experience, revealed important insights for the global health community, many of which draw inspiration from successful approaches to fighting malaria:

  • While new technologies are important, strengthening health systems on a systematic level and building local capacity provides the biggest impact in the long run. In fact, the survey respondents noted that they would prioritize health systems strengthening over bednet distribution (though both, of course, are essential).
  • A diverse set of public and private sector actors maximize impact by drawing on different strengths. Investing in malaria is a popular choice among companies because they understand healthy employees translate into higher profit margins. They see firsthand that investing in malaria is a best buy.
  • Research and development deserves greater investment. In the panel discussion, Amie Batson, chief strategy officer at PATH, highlighted the need for more sensitive diagnostics for diseases like malaria to illustrate this point, and we couldn’t agree more. As we move closer to elimination in low transmission settings, sensitive diagnostics will be crucial to completely remove any remaining parasites in the community.
  • In her PATH blog, Amie Batson also emphasized the importance of collecting strong data, highlighting malaria surveillance systems as an example.

We believe that the solutions to defeat malaria exemplify these “best buy” principles. At MACEPA, we incorporate these strategies into our model by partnering with national malaria control programs and enhancing health and surveillance systems. We are setting a foundation for better health outcomes.

See additional highlights from the conversation on social media at #BestBuys4GH.

Read the full “Best Buys in Global Health” issue of Impact at psiimpact.com.

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