Scaling-up malaria interventions must be accompanied by better surveillance, stronger health systems and local ownership, say Laurence Slutsker and Robert D. Newman.
Progress in improving the use of insecticide-treated bednets in many African countries has been limited. To reach Roll Back Malaria's goal of providing one bednet for every two people in a household by 2010, 250–300 million new bednets will need to be distributed.
Other interventions lag further behind — the use of artemisinin combinations in feverish children is less than six per cent in 14 African countries.
But there have been some successes, say the authors. Seven African countries projected insecticide-treated bednet use of more than 40 per cent by 2007 and international funding for malaria control has increased three-fold from 2004–2007. Global leadership has also improved since 2006, resulting in better coordination and more effective advocacy.
National ownership and commitment are crucial to sustain progress, say the authors. Supporting data gathering on malaria burden and intervention coverage will improve local decision-making and help match the availability of bednets to needs.
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