How close are we to eradicating malaria?
The scientific community is divided on whether or not we have a chance to achieve malaria eradication. Some argue that the task is too enormous. That lack of products, lack of access, lack of political drive or lack of funds will stop the downward trend of malaria. Some even predict a darker future with a potential resurgence of the disease.
On the other hand some, like Bill Gates, believe that it can be achieved within 15 years with the right resources allocated to the task.
In the end nobody is absolutely right or wrong. Nevertheless there are a few things that are certain:
- If we don’t try to eradicate malaria it will certainly not happen and people in resource poor countries will carry on dying or being socially impaired by this disease
- aiming for eradication implies a multidisciplinary approach including medicine, vector control, and specialised programs in malaria endemic areas
- It will not happen if there is not enough political and financial support until the job is done
The IVCC team is on the side of those who believe eradication can be achieved. We also have an acute understanding that it will not be a ‘walk in the park’. All our efforts are directed toward releasing new vector control products and ensuring access to them. This is important, because vector control is already identified as one of the most cost effective solutions to controlling malaria by preventing transmission. The downside is the rapid spread of resistance against most of the insecticides currently in use.
That’s why IVCC is working hard with a wide and diverse group of partners to find new solutions, either by re-purposing insecticides already available in other markets, or by engineering brand new insecticides dedicated to public health.
We are not complacent, but we do have solid reasons to be proud:
- We have passed some key milestones in our product development timeline. The horizon is not the horizon anymore, we can start seeing when and how these new products will be made available.
- There is a fantastic group of innovative people and organizations who have decided to work with us and commit time and development resources to this great cause.
- We are supported by committed funders such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID, UKaid and the Swiss Organization for Development and Cooperation.
So, do I believe we can achieve eradication? I do, but only if all the stakeholders in the battle against malaria work together to make it happen. No-one can do it alone. But together we can turn the vision of eradication into a reality