Impact of the WHO Technical Support Towards Malaria Elimination in Zambia
Background: Zambia's National Malaria Strategic Plan (NMSP) 2011-2016 aims to eliminate malaria by the year 2020. The WHO Country Office is supporting Zambia in its goal to attain this national target earlier than the global goal contained in Global Technical Strategy (GTS) 2016- 2030. WHO's focus is to accelerate coverage of proven interventions and strategies, and promote their effective use. This study documents impact of the WHO technical support in Zambia to accelerate efforts towards elimination of malaria.
Methods: This study involved a desk review of relevant documents and literature to obtain in-depth information on WHO technical support on malaria. Key documents included: malaria strategic plans, World Malaria Reports (WMR), WHO Annual Reports; Country Cooperation Strategy, for WHO in Zambia; and Health Bulletins and Health Management Information System (HMIS).
Results: WHO contributed effectively to monitoring malaria trends. Malaria deaths reduced from 6000 in 2010 to 3,200 in 2014. In 2015, ownership of long lasting insecticide treated nets (LLINs) increased from 38% in 2006 to 77% in 2015; to be among the highest in Africa. Similarly, utilization of LLINs increased from 19% in 2006 to 55% in 2015 and use of Intermittent Preventive Therapy in pregnancy (IPTp) increased from 61.2% in 2006 to 77% in 2015. In 2014, WHO contributed to the revision of the national malaria diagnosis and treatment guidelines that included: Dihydroartemisinin piperaquine (DHA-PQ) as first line, an alternative to Artemether lumefantrine (AL); injectable Artesunate for treatment of severe malaria and the adoption of the new WHO guidelines on IPTp. In 2016, WHO contributed to epidemiological profile leading to the development of the novel Malaria Elimination Strategy 2017-2020.
Discussion: WHO support has led to the determination of epidemiological profile and contributed to the improved focusing of interventions and surveillance activities for greater impact. These have been supported by clear guidelines on proven and evidenced-based prevention, diagnosis and treatment strategies.
Conclusion: WHO's technical assistance to priority areas in Zambia remains pivotal for the accelerated health gains countrywide. The importance of this technical support is evidenced in the malaria elimination strategy within an environment of changing epidemiological malaria profile, insecticide and drug resistance.