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Second Law for Malaria

January 20, 2010 - 21:05 -- William Jobin


If you are going to attack malaria in Africa, you don’t have to throw the kitchen sink at it, but you better use everything else.

In his 2006 historical analysis of malaria control in Italy, Snowden concluded that durable malaria control requires much more than drugs, biocides and nets, as helpful as they might be. He concluded that malaria had to be attacked by the whole society.

Unfortunately, current strategies in Africa use temporary measures which have to be repeated forever, such as drugs, biocides, and nets. For a successful program, we better add mosquito habitat modifications, improved housing and health education, improved irrigation and drainage, modified agricultural practices, innovative mosquito control, and anything else we can find that offers reasonable and cost-effective control.

It is like a Swiss cheese sandwich. Each control measure has some holes in it, like a slice of Gruyere. But if you put several layers in the sandwich, with their holes in different places, you get much better coverage of the bread.