Gaps in protection: the actual challenge in malaria elimination

Krijn P. Paaijmans, Neil F. Lobo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Progress in reducing both malaria cases and deaths has stalled with regression seen in many geographies. While significant attention is given to the contributing challenges of drug and insecticide resistance, ‘residual’ malaria is often diminished to transmission resulting from outdoor-biting or zoophagic/opportunistic mosquito vectors. These specific vector bionomic traits are only part of the problem, as residual transmission may be driven by (a combination of) (1) sub-optimal intervention coverage, quality, acceptance, and/or usage, (2) drug resistance, (3) insecticide resistance, (4) refractory, resistant and adaptive vector and human behaviours that lower intervention effectiveness, (5) lack of, limited access to, and/or willingness to use healthcare systems, (6) diagnostic sensitivity along with the parallel issue of hrp2/3 mutations, (7) (inter)national policy, (8) the research and development pipeline, and (9) external factors such as natural disasters and conflict zones. Towards combating the minimization of this extensive and multipronged issue among the scientific community, funding agencies, and public health officials responsible for guiding or developing malaria programmes, an alternative way of describing this transmission is proposed by focusing in on the causative ‘gaps in protection’. Defining and wording it as such zeros in on the drivers that result in the observed remaining (or increasing) transmission, allowing the malaria community to focus on solutions by identifying the actual causes. Outlining, defining and quantifying the gaps in protection for a given system is of utmost importance to understand what needs to be done, differentiating what can be done versus what cannot be tackled at that moment, along with delineating the technical and financial capacity required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number46
JournalMalaria journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases


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