Bringing science and development together through news and analysis

  • Surveillance the secret weapon against malaria

Shares

The global anti-malaria effort is running without regional monitoring, laboratory and surveillance networks, says Mark Grabowsky in Nature.

Grabowsky says disease surveillance is the secret weapon behind the successes in polio and measles control, powering funding and informing decisions. But no such systematic surveillance data exists for malaria.

The rise of resistance to the insecticides applied to bednets and the artemisinin used for treatment makes monitoring essential, he says.

Though there are technical challenges to improving malaria surveillance — including the need to move from presumptive to laboratory­-based diagnosis — most could be resolved with adequate funds, training and management.

A country-based approach will not work, he says. Regional laboratory networks are needed to support country efforts, apply standardised monitoring techniques, rapidly share findings and manage coordinated responses. This is particularly essential for monitoring drug quality.

Grabowsky puts the cost of providing monthly surveillance data and supporting regional networks at US$10 million a year — a small price to prevent the billion-dollar malaria effort "flying blind".

Link to full article in Nature

Republish
We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.