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Kenya: New Tools to Accelerate the Eradication of Malaria

In wealthy countries, the war against malaria was won nearly half a century ago. But Malaria continues to cripple the lives and economies of people in the developing world.  Nowhere is malaria’s impact more evident than in sub-Saharan Africa, which accounts for over 80 percent of infections and 90 percent of deaths. Each year, more than more than one million children die from malaria in Africa, 2,000 every day.  The financial cost of malaria is an obstacle to Africa’s economic development with an estimated 12 US$ billion lost annually to the cost of treatment and reduced productivity.

Despite the prevalence and complexity of the disease, we believe that with strategic leadership, strong partnerships, and a commitment to sustained resources focused on creating innovative new tools, approaches, drugs, and vaccines, malaria can be overcome.

With funding from BioVision Foundation, MI has partnered with the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) to develop a malaria simulation model that well represents the dynamics of the epidemic and allows for evaluating policies to curb and eradicate the disease. When completed, the model will be integrated into the T21 model to allow for examination and demonstration of the impact of malaria policies on development outcomes that include social measures, the economy and environment.

ICIPE began conducting intensive analysis of malaria determinants and effects in three eco-zones in Kenya – Malindi (coastal urban), Nyabondo (western highlands) and Mwea (rice ecosystem) – as part of an integrated vector management approach in 2004. Since then, sufficient data has been collected and experiments have been run to determine the effectiveness of alternative policies.

Based on assumptions found in literature and expert advice from malaria ecology scientists, MI developed a generic malaria model structure that was then applied to the three eco-zones.  When it was compared with a forty-month historical data, the models’ model baseline runs were found to replicate reality, which indicated they could be used for policy analysis.

A number of interventions were examined to gauge their impact on reducing infection cases in Mwea ecozone. The interventions were non-treated nets, insecticide treated nets, long lasting insecticide treated nets, indoor residual spraying, larviciding and source reduction.

The preliminary results show that long lasting insecticide treated nets and indoor residual spraying intervetions were particularly effective methods for reducing infection and cost. These interventions eliminated infections when administered in all areas, and reduced infections by 98 percent and 100 percent when administered in half of the ecozone. On the other hand, larviciding and source reduction were least effective in curbing infection.  See Table 1: Comparison of Cost and Effectiveness of Policies.

These results, while not definitive, provide a point of departure for further discussion on the policies and possible areas for improvement of the model.  MI and ICIPE are committed to developing and testing the model further in 2009.

For questions about this project, contact Matteo Pedercini at .

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