A group of researchers at the Wits Research Institute for Malaria (WRIM), South Arica, in partnership with scientists in Namibia, UK, US have found a smarter way to curb the transmission of malaria. The research findings, which are published in The Lancet on April 25 – which also happens to be World Malaria Day – revealed that deployment of malaria treatments and preventive tools in areas with newly developed cases could lower incidence by up to 75%.
The study team conducted a trial to test the effectiveness of two interventions – reactive mass drug administration and reactive vector control in a community in the Zambezi Region of Northern Namibia, targeting people that are at the highest risk of getting infected with malaria based on their proximity to new cases in the outbreak season.
In one arm of the study, these persons were treated with standard dose of the antimalarial medication Coartem without a prior malaria test. In another arm of the study, these neighbors had their houses sprayed with highly effective insecticide sprays, whether or not these houses were previously sprayed.
The results showed that both measures used singly or together, were effective at reducing malaria transmission in low endemic settings, lowering incidence rates by up to 75%.
This study brings new light into effective ways of managing the malaria epidemic in sub-Saharan African countries such as Nigeria, using previously established treatment and preventive tools.