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Opinion Pieces Recognize World Malaria Day

The Conversation: What Africa still needs to do to eliminate malaria
Willis Simon Akhwale, country director of I-TECH Kenya at the University of Washington

“…To achieve low transmission rates and eventual elimination [of malaria], African countries need to invest in understanding the geography, evolutionary history of flora and fauna, infrastructure, and land use in Africa. … [B]y understanding and addressing these factors, malaria control can be more successful. In addition, African countries need to diversify financing of malaria control. … And a national health financing strategy and road map to universal health coverage should be developed and implemented in sub-Saharan countries with a high burden of malaria. All partners from the public and private sector, the civil society, development partners, and the community should be involved. … Robust investment and new malaria control tools are urgently needed to propel countries towards eliminating the disease” (4/24).

Project Syndicate: Uniting Against Malaria
Julie Essiam, chief executive officer of the Ecobank Foundation, and Joy Phumaphi, executive secretary of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance

“…There is … an urgent need to accelerate progress — and end malaria for good. This is both a moral and economic imperative. … No single African country can reliably eliminate malaria so long as the disease remains rampant among its neighbors. Malaria does not, after all, respect borders. That is why it is vital for African governments to work together, using every tool at their disposal, to achieve comprehensive malaria control, pre-elimination, and, ultimately, elimination. … The goal of eradicating malaria in our lifetime may sound ambitious, but it is achievable. Together, Africa’s governments and private sector can produce the investment and action needed to stop the disease for good — and ensure greater prosperity across the continent” (4/25).

Miami Herald: Let’s work across borders to fight mosquito-borne disease
Julio Frenk, president of the University of Miami and board member of the United Nations Foundation

“…Without continued leadership from the United States, diseases like Zika and malaria will weaken public health throughout the Americas, including in the United States. … On World Malaria Day, let’s renew our commitment to stamping out malaria in the Americas and controlling other mosquito-borne illnesses. That commitment must involve international cooperation, continued funding for U.N. efforts, and robust partnerships among researchers. It will require strong action by citizens, communities, and countries to meet the threat of climate change. When it comes to fighting diseases and protecting the public’s health, let’s reach across the borders of nations, just as the mosquitoes do” (4/24).

The Conversation: Genetic surveillance and why it’s critical in the fight against antimalarial drug resistance
Georgina Humphreys, senior scientist of the Infectious Diseases Data Observatory at the University of Oxford, and Magatte Ndiaye, research fellow at the Université Cheikh Anta Diop

“…To achieve malaria elimination and contain multidrug antimalarial resistance, strong surveillance systems are essential. … In the past, molecular markers of resistance to antimalarials were identified long after the resistant parasites had emerged and spread throughout the world. However, with the advancements of molecular tracking and surveillance technology, we have the unusual opportunity to monitor the prevalence of mutations … associated with artemisinin resistance, as they evolve in time and across different locations. … Genetic information is a valuable tool to monitor the occurrence or spread of drug resistance and agreeing standards of reporting and pooling of results is critical in the fight against this deadly disease” (4/24).

Global Health NOW: Roll Back Mosquitoes
Michael B. Macdonald, former co-chair of the Roll Back Malaria Vector Control Working Group

“With the fragile gains against malaria but rapid expansion of Aedes-borne diseases, broad-based and sustained vector control is now more critical than ever. The Roll Back Malaria Vector Control Working Group (RBM VCWG) recognizes that only through building diverse human and systems capacities, tools, and strategies across sectors can we can address these and future vector-borne disease threats that will surely come…” (4/25).

Scientific American: How to End Malaria in Africa
Carl Manlan, economist and COO of the Ecobank Foundation, and 2016 Aspen New Voices fellow

“…I see these as three necessary priorities in relation to the Africa CDC to make a significant impact on ending malaria: 1. Strengthen and build mechanisms to gather real-time data from communities across Africa for informed decision-making. … 2. Make new resources available to support the Africa CDC. … 3. Invest in other ways to end malaria. … Ending malaria was a vehicle to establish a strong and reliable CDC in the U.S., and now Africa has an opportunity to do both concurrently and should aim to do so by 2030 when the world gathers to assess progress toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. We have the opportunity save more, and possibly all, lives through the Africa CDC; let’s make it happen” (4/25).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: World Malaria Day: Let’s end it for good
Nenette Motus, director of the regional office for Asia and the Pacific at the International Organization for Migration (IOM)

“…IOM believes that in order to move forward we now need to rapidly improve the tools, methodologies, and practices for assessing and understanding local mobility dynamics and how they affect transmission of malaria. We also need to link malaria prevention, treatment, and surveillance data and initiatives across migration routes and borders. … In addition, we need to strengthen multi-sectoral engagement to combat malaria beyond health to include relevant public sector bodies like immigration, labor ministries, and private sector players, notably forest product companies. Finally we must promote and encourage migrant inclusion in national/state/provincial health service planning and all malaria services in all six [Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS)] countries. These initiatives reflect the four-pillar approach that IOM recommends for combating malaria worldwide…” (4/25).

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