Malaria leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic

Commissioners from The Lancet Commission on malaria eradication respond

Experts from around the world are deploying their extensive skills and expertise in malaria to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, including several members of The Lancet Commission on malaria eradication. In addition to supporting COVID-19 treatment trials in health care workers and soldiers, Commissioners are supporting efforts to leverage malaria surveillance systems and health infrastructure at national borders to be included as a possible component to the COVID-19 response.

Collective action, disease detection, robust prevention, and rapid response are significant pillars in protecting humanity from emerging health threats, like COVID-19, and in advancing public health goals, including the eradication of malaria. COVID-19 has tested global capacities in surveillance, diagnosis, treatment, and human resources for health—all core components of an effective malaria response. For countries with weak health systems, malaria can be an entry point for outbreak detection, data-driven targeted interventions, a whole-of-government response, and cross-border collaboration. Investments in malaria can simultaneously build resilient health systems and protect the world from current and emerging disease threats.

The following is a series of interviews detailing how individual Commissioners are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Dr. Ken Staley, Coordinator of the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI); Executive Director of the USAID COVID-19 Task Force; Commissioner on The Lancet Commission on malaria eradication
  • Dr. Richard Nchabi Kamwi, Steering Committee for Africa CDC’s Taskforce for Coronavirus (AFCOR); Commissioner on The Lancet Commission on malaria eradication
  • Dr. Ning Xiao, Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of State Council on COVID-19; Commissioner on The Lancet Commission on malaria eradication

The Lancet Commission on malaria eradication is an international group of 27 leading experts that, in September 2019, published the first comprehensive, peer-reviewed academic document to examine the scientific, operational, and financial challenges on the path to eradication and identify solutions that will enable us to achieve a world free of malaria within a generation. The report addresses a bold proposition: malaria, one of the most ancient and deadly diseases of humankind, can and should be eradicated by 2050.