Back in 2007, the contemporary titans of development funding, Bill and Melinda Gates, called for the global eradication of malaria. Remember when Bill unleashed supposedly malarial mosquitos on an audience at TED (5:05)?
Surely malaria eradication a good thing, right? The WHO thought so, and they got on board. But a new series of papers published in the journal Lancet is not as gungho.
The Guardian's Global Health blog has a good synopsis of the findings:
"The most startling paper ... is an analysis by Oliver Sabot and colleagues from the Clinton Health Access Initiative in Boston, USA, who take a hard-headed look at the relative costs in four impoverished malaria-endemic countries of eliminating the mosquito-borne disease, versus controlling it. They found that there was a only a small probability (less than 10%) that elimination would be cost-saving over 50 years in three of those countries ... and a moderate chance in the other. ..."The other problem they found was that funding for malaria control at the moment is geared to bringing down the numbers of cases rapidly - good in itself, but not the way things have to go if elimination is the goal. ..."All this is not to say that elimination should no longer be contemplated. It's just more possible in some countries than in others. ..."