The cost of comprehensive malaria control in Africa is projected to be about $3 billion each year or about $4 per person at risk, according to a study published by Columbia University's Earth Institute. If fully implemented, the ramp-up of coverage would meet the U.N. Millennium Development Goal for reducing the burden of malaria by 75 percent.
By using Geographic Information System maps and U.N. population estimates, Dr. Awash Teklehaimanot and his colleagues forecast the number of people at risk of contracting malaria in Africa. They then estimated the annual costs of covering those at risk with the package of interventions recommended by the U.N. Millennium Project.
The study calculated the expense of key interventions such as long-lasting insecticide treated bed nets, indoor residual spraying, training of community health workers and other specialists, and education campaigns. In addition, they included enhanced diagnostic tests, artemisinin-combination therapies, and overhead rates for monitoring, evaluation and administration. The authors note that the world's capacity to produce both insecticide-treated bed nets and artemisinin-combination therapies would need to increase significantly if the demands of scaling up are to be met.
The distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets
is a key intervention in malaria control. Photo:
Given the disease kills millions and is readily preventable and treatable, the authors encourage the international community to seize the opportunity to reduce massively this human disease burden at such a low cost.
Scaling Up Malaria Control in Africa: An Economic and Epidemiological Assessment. Teklehaimanot A, McCord GC, Sachs JD. Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg., 77(Suppl 6) 2007, pp. 138-144.
To access the paper, visit: http://www.ajtmh.org/cgi/content/full/77/6_Suppl/138