The past, present and future use of epidemiological intelligence to plan malaria vector control and parasite prevention in Uganda.
Talisuna AO., Noor AM., Okui AP., Snow RW.
BACKGROUND: An important prelude to developing strategies to control infectious diseases is a detailed epidemiological evidence platform to target cost-effective interventions and define resource needs. METHODS: A review of published and un-published reports of malaria vector control and parasite prevention in Uganda was conducted for the period 1900-2013. The objective was to provide a perspective as to how epidemiological intelligence was used to design malaria control before and during the global malaria eradication programme (GMEP) and to contrast this with the evidence generated in support of the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) initiative from 1998 to date. RESULTS: During the GMEP era, comprehensive investigations were undertaken on the effectiveness of vector and parasite control such as indoor residual house-spraying (IRS) and mass drug administration (MDA) at different sites in Uganda. Nationwide malariometric surveys were undertaken between 1964 and 1967 to provide a profile of risk, epidemiology and seasonality leading to an evidence-based national cartography of risk to characterize the diversity of malaria transmission in Uganda. At the launch of the RBM initiative in the late 1990s, an equivalent level of evidence was lacking. There was no contemporary national evidence-base for the likely impact of insecticide-treated nets (ITN), no new malariometric data, no new national cartography of malaria risk or any evidence of tailored intervention delivery based on variations in the ecology of malaria risk in Uganda. DISCUSSION: Despite millions of dollars of overseas development assistance over the last ten years in ITN, and more recently the resurrection of the use of IRS, the epidemiological impact of vector control remains uncertain due to an absence of nationwide basic parasite and vector-based field studies. CONCLUSION: Readily available epidemiological data should become the future business model to maximize malaria funding from 2015. Over the next five to ten years, accountability, impact analysis, financial business cases supported by a culture of data use should become the new paradigm by which malaria programmes, governments and their development partners operate.