AFRICA—GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, has announced that Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Nigeria are leading in employing data-driven approaches to combat malaria, maximizing impact despite limited resources.

This declaration comes a month after the Yaoundé Declaration, in which health ministers from 11 heavily affected nations emphasized the importance of expediting malaria mortality reductions.

GAVI termed these countries as pioneers in using sophisticated strategies, leveraging data to determine the most effective combination of tools such as treated bed nets, insecticide spraying, and vaccines tailored to each district towards eradicating this devastating disease

Kenya, for instance, has been an early innovator in utilizing subnational data for effective intervention customization, while Tanzania’s National Malaria Control Programme has adopted data-driven approaches, including mathematical models, to inform its nationwide malaria strategy.

On their part, Mozambique has embraced integrated surveillance technology via the Malaria Atlas Project, blending genomics data with routine malaria case data to create detailed maps of malaria risk, resulting in a notable 17% reduction in malaria prevalence among young children over five years.

Nigeria also has actively developed a dashboard to simulate the use of various tools in malaria prevention across different regions, aiding decision-making for targeted vaccine rollout.

These tailored strategies rely on timely, accurate data encompassing malaria incidence, rainfall, and mosquito populations, aligning with the spirit of the Yaoundé Declaration’s emphasis on strategic information use for action.

Despite significant progress in the fight against malaria over the past two decades, recent years have seen a troubling rise in cases across Africa with numbers climbing from 218 million in 2019 to 233 million in 2022

On the forefront, GAVI highlighted Innovative institutions such as the International Center for Research and Training in Applied Genomics and Health Surveillance (CIGASS) in Senegal and the African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) in Nigeria leveraging genomic sequencing to identify resistance patterns to anti-malarial drugs and insecticides. National malaria control programs have then adapted these strategies based on these patterns.

GAVI also noted that researchers such as Susan Rumisha of the Malaria Atlas Project in Tanzania, Isabella Oyier of KEMRI – Wellcome Trust in Kenya, and Ify Aniebo, a senior research scientist focusing on genomic surveillance in Nigeria are spearheaded the development and deployment of these tailored approaches, inspiring future generations of scientists, particularly women, across the continent.

Scaling up these customized solutions could accelerate malaria eradication globally, assuming that eradicating malaria becomes a major priority with the potential to delay developing resistance, saving millions of lives and billions of dollars in economic losses.

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