Prioritizing the scale-up of interventions for malaria control and elimination.

08 Apr 2019
Winskill P, Walker PG, Cibulskis RE, Ghani AC


A core set of intervention and treatment options are recommended by the World Health Organization for use against falciparum malaria. These are treatment, long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets, indoor residual spraying, and chemoprevention options. Both domestic and foreign aid funding for these tools is limited. When faced with budget restrictions, the introduction and scale-up of intervention and treatment options must be prioritized.


Estimates of the cost and impact of different interventions were combined with a mathematical model of malaria transmission to estimate the most cost-effective prioritization of interventions. The incremental cost effectiveness ratio was used to select between scaling coverage of current interventions or the introduction of an additional intervention tool.


Prevention, in the form of vector control, is highly cost effective and scale-up is prioritized in all scenarios. Prevention reduces malaria burden and therefore allows treatment to be implemented in a more cost-effective manner by reducing the strain on the health system. The chemoprevention measures (seasonal malaria chemoprevention and intermittent preventive treatment in infants) are additional tools that, provided sufficient funding, are implemented alongside treatment scale-up. Future tools, such as RTS,S vaccine, have impact in areas of higher transmission but were introduced later than core interventions.


In a programme that is budget restricted, it is essential that investment in available tools be effectively prioritized to maximize impact for a given investment. The cornerstones of malaria control: vector control and treatment, remain vital, but questions of when to scale and when to introduce other interventions must be rigorously assessed. This quantitative analysis considers the scale-up or core interventions to inform decision making in this area.