The focus of the fight against malaria today is on disease elimination, the goal established by the current Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016 2030 approved by the World Health Organisation in 2015. For this goal to be achieved, however, it is essential that all the actors involved—scientists, academics, the staff of international bodies and the people who work in health ministries or are responsible for national malaria programmes in endemic countries—contribute to the creation and translation of essential knowledge and acquire the key skills and competences necessary to carry out effective elimination programmes.
Making sure that this happens is precisely the objective of the annual course entitled “The Science of Eradication: Malaria”, which took place this year from 25 June to 1 July 2017 at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute in Basel, Switzerland. The 55 participants selected to attend this sixth edition of the course came from 36 countries, where they work in academic institutions, national malaria control programmes, NGOs, public private partnerships (PPP), funds and other key organisations involved in the fight against malaria.
This year’s programme dealt with a broad spectrum of different aspects of malaria eradication: vector and parasite biology; the development of new tools for disease elimination, including drugs and vaccines; vector control; the challenges facing the fight against malaria; the role of research and innovation; funding for elimination programmes and the importance of integrating such programmes into national health systems; strategies and tools needed to completely eradicate malaria from the world; and the lessons learned from past disease elimination efforts.
This sixth edition of the course was facilitated by a faculty of 35 world experts in the various disciplines involved in the fight against malaria and much of the work done by the participants centred around several real case studies taken from countries characterised by marked differences. Through their work on these case studies, the participants learned more about the components that must be included in any national elimination strategy.
The course is an annual event organised jointly by three institutions with extensive knowledge and expertise in malaria: the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), the University of Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute. The next edition will be held at Harvard University’s Boston campus in the United States of America. Major financial support for this course comes from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, ExxonMobil, Sumitomo Chemical and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. Additional funding is provided by the following co-sponsors: GSK, Novartis, Syngenta, MMV, MESA, WHO-TDR, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, and ESCMID).