“On World Malaria Day, we need to recognise and understand how good malaria control can also positively impact wider disease control, in countries with the highest disease burden where people are suffering the most,” says Richard Allan, The MENTOR Initiative CEO.
“Investing in an integrated vector management approach to control malaria in countries with the highest disease burden would help protect vulnerable populations from other vector-borne diseases that co-exist with malaria, such as dengue fever.
It is vital that we think about how effective malaria control could be a platform for wider disease control, by using a toolbox of innovative and evidence-based solutions.
In humanitarian crises where living conditions deteriorate rapidly, communities are exposed to multiple disease-carrying vectors. This increased risk is compounded by damaged or inadequate sanitation and water supplies, a breakdown of basic services, poor access to food and effective health care.
Instead of relying on a singular disease approach based on nets, we need to gain control of multiple vectors using a range of tools to make an impact in these complex situations. At the same time, we need to invest in health worker training and the delivery of primary care services as close to the community as possible. This improved access to effective diagnoses and case management will ensure many lives are saved.
Doing more of the same will not work. Let us not waste this opportunity to make a difference to disease prevention by building on what we have achieved through malaria control programmes. Well-designed integrated vector management is the most viable solution in high disease burden countries, which are often experiencing conflict and mass displacement.”
Caption: Flooding in Maban refugee camp, South Sudan