Elimination Target Year
At a Glance
- Zambia has achieved a significant decrease in malaria cases. and is aiming to eliminate malaria by 2021.
- 100% of the population is at risk of contracting malaria (Total Population: 15.5 million)
The Zambian Ministry of Health has made malaria control and elimination a major public health priority; the Government recently renamed its control effort “the National Malaria Elimination Centre,” with the goal of eliminating local malaria infection and disease in Zambia by 2021. In 2015, 16 malaria deaths per 100,000 population were reported, a 70% reduction from 51 deaths per 100,000 population in 2010. Malaria incidence, however, remained largely unchanged at 343 cases per 1,000 population in 2011 and 336 cases per 1,000 population in 2015. The Zambian National Malaria Elimination Strategic Plan (NMESP) 2017-2021 outlines the country’s ambitious goal of eliminating local malaria infection and disease in the country by 2021. The plan builds on gains in the uptake of malaria control interventions and is focused on reaching vulnerable populations such as children, pregnant women and rural communities. Zambia’s elimination strategy involves a two-pronged approach that targets areas with a package of interventions based on transmission levels. Districts with 50 or more malaria cases per 1,000 population, the focus will be on reducing the diseases burden and strengthening health systems. In contrast, districts with fewer than 50 cases per 1,000 population, surveillance will be the key intervention. In both settings, a step by step approach will be used to ensure a sustainable malaria elimination project.
Focus on the End Game
Malaria remains a major public health problem in Zambia, despite significant progress made in fighting the disease in the last decade. Zambia’s most recent National Malaria Strategic Plan lays out a plan for achieving malaria elimination in Zambia by 2021. Over the past five years, more than six million long-lasting insecticide treated nets (LLINs) have been distributed, and IRS coverage in Zambia has progressed from five districts in 2003 to 54 in 2010 and nationwide in eligible areas in 2012.
The Zambian Ministry of Health will support these interventions by improving diagnosis and treatment, supporting health systems strengthening and capacity building, supporting education and communications surrounding behavior change, and improving monitoring and evaluation of current programs and interventions.
During the last decade, under the previous (2005–2010 and 2011–2016) national malaria strategic plans, Zambia made substantial progress in scaling up proven interventions, including the use of LLINs, IRS, prevention during pregnancy with LLINs and IPTp, and improved case management at health facility and community levels with diagnostic confirmation using RDTs and/or microscopy along with ACT treatment.
- Funding: Despite the increase in government funding to the NMEP, there is still a funding gap as well as delays in disbursement of funds for procurement of commodities and timely implementation of core malaria control interventions. Furthermore, funding for prioritized research activities and other cross cutting interventions has also been inadequate.
- Insecticide Resistance: The emergence of insecticide resistance may undermine the effectiveness of IVM interventions.
- Geographical dimension: The total area and vastness of the country to cover with malaria control interventions.