Zambian experience shows malaria control can be effective

Paul Chinnock | 02 Oct 2008
The Malaria Control and Evaluation Partnership in Africa (MACEPA) says there is evidence that rapid, large-scale malaria control in Zambia is achieving promising results. A survey suggests there has been 50% reduction in the prevalence of malaria in children under five in a period of just two years.

MACEPA is a project of the US-based non-profit organization PATH, which argues that, Zambia now provides 'a model for malaria control' and that - with commitment coordination and leadership - similar results can be achieved elsewhere.

Preliminary results from Zambia's 2008 malaria indicator survey (MIS) were announced in September. The survey, of nearly 4,500 households across the country, demonstrated the effectiveness of the scaled-up approach to malaria control adopted in Zambia. Particularly successful has been the improvement in the distribution of insecticide-treated bednets (ITNs), expanding the reach of Zambia's indoor residual spraying programme (IRS), and providing preventive medicine and treatment for the most vulnerable. Bednet use in children under age five years has risen 31.5% since 2002, and malaria parasitic prevalence in this same group was reduced by 50% in only two years.

Other significant findings include a 60% decrease in the number of cases of moderate to severe anaemia. Two-thirds of Zambian households are now covered with at least one treated net or a recent indoor spraying. Eighty per cent of pregnant women now receive at least one dose of preventive medicine. More information about the MIS may be accessed via a press release on the National Malaria Control Centre website.

According to PATH: 'Through committed leadership; a strong, united partnership; and innovative approaches; Zambia has become a global leader in malaria control and is making excellent progress toward its vision of a malaria-free Zambia.'