Mathematical Modelling to Support Malaria Control and Elimination

05 Nov 2010

RBM Progress and Impact Series

Mathematical Modelling to Support Malaria Control and Elimination, the fifth report of the Roll Back Malaria Progress & Impact Series, provides an overview of mathematical modelling, explains its history in relation to epidemiology and malaria, and details its implications and uses for global and national malaria control and elimination planning. The report aims to expand the dialogue within the global malaria community - and among public health decisionmakers in particular - on when and how mathematical modelling can help inform malaria control programmes and policies.

A summary of key messages

  • Mathematical modelling has long been applied to malaria control and is particularly relevant today in light of rapid country progress in reaching high intervention coverage targets and given the intensifying global efforts to achieve the malaria-related Millennium Development Goals.
  • Modelling is especially well-suited to helping inform decision-making around malaria control because of the disease's complex biological systems, the considerable infrastructural and cost requirements of prevention and elimination, and the rapid pace of change in global planning and national programming to halt malaria.
  • Findings from modelling can provide valuable data to help inform a range of decision-making on issues such as identifying potential effective combinations of interventions; setting feasible coverage targets; devising target product profiles for new interventions; anticipating the implications of introducing new interventions; understanding the potential for malaria resurgence; and establishing how malaria surveillance can best enhance global or country progress.
  • While models have limitations, their findings can be useful to the full range of constituents of the global malaria control community, including global and regional malaria control policy-makers, program planners at the country and local levels, academic researchers, those involved in product research and development, and donors.