What does it mean to eliminate malaria from a country?
It means you stop it. Completely. No one is infected.* Period. Is it even possible for Zambia? Some would say no. We say yes. Our malaria experts are living in Zambia – they watch the disease propagate, understand its patterns, and assist the national malaria control program in making evidence-based decisions on a day-by-day basis.
Know Your Target
Want a few details on how elimination can happen? First and foremost, an elimination program requires rapid, granular surveillance so that every malaria case in the entire country is promptly identified. Akros partnered with the Zambian Ministry of Health to build an innovative system using mobile phones and simple decision support frameworks, capable of picking up malaria cases not otherwise found by traditional health facilities. Read more here.
Second, anti-malaria interventions must be applied in the exact right places, in the exact right times to be effective. Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) is a critical anti-malaria intervention, costing millions of dollars per year to support per-country. Until Akros developed mSpray, the first GIS-integrated electronic data capture tool for IRS monitoring, it was nearly impossible to verify IRS operations were being applied to the exact right areas. Now with mSpray, a free, open-source product, countries are able to precisely monitor IRS progress. Read more here.
Third, partners must be willing to invest heavily in capacity building and technical assistance to their host government counterparts. It is no use attempting malaria elimination if the tools or strategies you plan to use can’t be maintained or supported by the host country. Akros stays closely aligned with its host country counterparts. In Zambia, the national program has set the notable goal of establishing 5 malaria-free areas by 2015. Akros is working with the national program to setup the systems to monitor progress to this goal – and support its achievement.
*The World Health Organization defines malaria elimination as the permanent interruption of local mosquito-borne malaria transmission in a defined geographical area, usually in a country.