Combining sociological, economic and epidemiological evidence to target malaria interventions in Papua New Guinea and beyond

To improve the (cost-) effectiveness of malaria control and accelerate progress towards elimination, control measures must be tailored to sub-national levels to account for local heterogeneity. The World Health Organization encourages the use of data for stratified implementation of interventions. However, current recommendations focus exclusively on stratification by malaria risk. Yet, malaria is multi-factorial and the impact of interventions in a given setting also depends on entomological, socio-economic and cultural factors, the local health system, policies, and logistics (‘stratification dimensions’). 

Applying a participatory approach, we will develop and validate a conceptual framework for a multi-dimensional malaria stratification beyond mere epidemiological indicators. Papua New Guinea (PNG) with its complex malaria epidemiology serves as a model country. Project outputs will include (1) a generic framework to guide multi-dimensional stratification in different endemic settings, (2) a specific stratification of PNG along relevant local dimensions, and (3) recommendations for the sub-national implementation of tailored intervention packages in PNG. 

Researchers from social and natural sciences will collaborate with malaria stakeholders and international organizations to establish and quantify relevant stratification dimensions. The research process will be iterative and inductive: qualitative research will inform quantitative analysis of empirical data and outputs will be consolidated in a with a range of local and international stakeholders. Findings will be disseminated broadly to inform policy and programmatic practice in PNG and other malaria-endemic countries. Our approach will fluidly connect research, action and policy, and contribute to SDG3 in support of achieving Universal Health Coverage.

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