Ready to beat malaria on Hispaniola this World Malaria Day

The 2018 World Malaria Day theme perfectly summarizes the current focus of the Malaria Zero project: Ready to beat malaria. Malaria Zero, the alliance for a malaria-free Haiti, has been laying the groundwork for this moment for the past three years, focusing on researching the most effective and evidence-based package of interventions to achieve malaria elimination in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Now we are ready to implement these targeted interventions starting in five communes of the area with the highest burden of malaria, the Grand Anse Department. Grand Anse is one of ten departments in Haiti and is located at the tip of the western peninsula of the island.

The framework for the package of interventions is modeled after a pyramid, with the bottom of the pyramid consisting of a ‘base layer’ of activities to be rolled out in all communities, such as improved passive surveillance and timely management of malaria cases. Phase I of the surveillance system improvements have already begun, and case management activities will begin soon.

Moving up the pyramid, active surveillance will be used to find cases in communities with higher prevalence of malaria. At the top of the pyramid are highly targeted interventions such as focal drug administration and indoor residual spraying of insecticide, which will only be used in limited areas with enduring transmission after the other activities have been rolled out. Engaging and working directly with community members will be an essential activity across all interventions to maximize participation.

After the roll out these interventions in the first five communes, the intent is to expand to the remaining seven communes within the Grand Anse Department in late 2018 and continue through the end of 2020. By focusing on the area with the highest burden of malaria, we expect transmission to reduce significantly across Haiti in the next few years, getting us much closer to our goal of island-wide elimination.

The Malaria Zero consortium of partners are poised and ready to implement this crucial package of interventions and beat malaria for good on the island of Hispaniola. Stay tuned for updates on our progress.

Malaria Zero partners are in Port au Prince today commemorating World Malaria Day with the First Lady of Haiti, Martine Moïse.

Malaria Zero, which started with a $29.9 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, supports the governments of Haiti and the Dominican Republic in their efforts to eliminate malaria from the island of Hispaniola by 2020. Malaria Zero partners include the Haiti Ministry of Public Health and Population, the Dominican Republic Ministry of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Pan American Health Organization, The Carter Center, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the CDC Foundation, Malaria No More and the United Nations Foundation Nothing But Nets campaign.

Photos: © David Snyder/CDC Foundation

Photo of Phillippa Chadd
Phillippa Chadd, MPH, is a senior program officer for the CDC Foundation.