No Nation Is an Island When It Comes to Malaria

<a href="http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/99614994/?sid=cf03681e9075baae5e50b94490289f32">Library of Congress</a>

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Back in the 1950s, the World Health Organization initiated the Global Malaria Eradication Program, which successfully eradicated malaria in 25 countries. Interestingly enough, almost all of the countries that succeeded were islands or adjacent to countries that also eliminated malaria (the two exceptions were Israel and Chile). The lesson was a simple but important one: When it comes to disease control, it matters who your neighbors are.

Researchers at the University of Florida took this idea to heart in a study published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences aimed at improving malaria elimination strategies. The underlying hypothesis of the study is that many national campaigns fail to eradicate malaria because they try to do so only within their national boundaries—borders drawn by colonialism, war, natural resources, and treaties. The borders of malaria, on the other hand, are determined by factors like climate, mosquitoes, and human migration. So the researchers analyzed migration patterns, malaria transmission maps, and global population data in order to determine the natural boundaries for malaria endemics in different regions of the world.

What they found was that in many cases, malaria-stricken countries occur in pockets linked together by high levels of cross-border migration. Take the case of West Africa, where migration between countries is high: in order to eradicate malaria in Ghana, you’d have to tackle it in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Côte d’Ivoire as well—otherwise the countries will just keep reinfecting one another. The study also found that in certain places like Madagascar, for example, the disease is contained within the country’s borders and not linked to any larger group of nations. What this means is that in Ghana, a national campaign to eradicate malaria is likely to fail, but in Madagascar it stands a better chance. That sort of distinction is good to keep in mind for the world’s 107 malaria-endemic countries—and for the 34 of them currently pursuing malaria eradication campaigns, it might be time to get to know the neighbors.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate