The history of malaria control in africa: Lessons Learned and future perspectives

Andrew K. Githeko, Clive Shiff

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

The tropical African climate is ideal for the breeding of the most efficient malaria vector in the world, Anopheles gambide, and it is favorahle for transmission of Plasmodium falciparum, the deadliest type of malaria parasite. This vector-parasite combination results in extremely high transmission intensities. The early motives for malaria control in Africa were associated with commercial and trade development. In the later years of the last century, the level of devel opment in Africa could not support the efforts required to eradicate malaria, particularly in rural areas; control involved the most basic tools for early diagnoses and effective treatment. Toward the end of the 20th century, the mainstay for malaria control, chloroquine, began to fail, and other drugs followed the trend. Newer tools under development, such as vaccines and transgenic mosquitoes, have not yielded practical applications. The introduction of insecticide-treated bed nets; brought new hope; however, few people acquire them for reasons ranging from cost to availability. Climate change is likely to worsen the situation, particularly in the eastern and southern African highlands as these areas become warmer and wetter. Some parts of West Africa have become drier and less ravorable for malaria transmission. New control targets with time limits have been set; however, the enormity of the problem raises doubt about these expectations unless new tools are found or the economy of the continent improves rapidly. We are faced with a parasite/vector system that has a high capacity to adapt to most current intervention tools. The history of malaria control in Africa suggests that past successes using vector control were obtained in areas of unstable malaria, which are now under the greatest threat of resurging epidemics as a result of more frequent and intense climate variability. Studies should be directed in these areas to determine how to best control malaria. Africa needs to strengthen its capacity to deal with these emerging issues rather than paying attention to new scientific endeavors th at h ave little immediate application.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationIntegration of Public Health with Adaptation to Climate Change
Subtitle of host publicationLessons Learned and New Directions
PublisherCRC Press
Pages114-135
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781482298383
ISBN (Print)9789058096869
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)

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