Researchers' perceptions of malaria eradication: Findings from a mixed-methods analysis of a large online survey

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Abstract

Background: The value of malaria eradication, the permanent reduction to zero of the worldwide incidence of malaria infection caused by human malaria parasites, would be enormous. However, the expected value of an investment in an intended, but uncertain, outcome hinges on the probability of, and time until, its fulfilment. Though the long-term benefits of global malaria eradication promise to be large, the upfront costs and uncertainty regarding feasibility and timeframe make it difficult for policymakers and researchers to forecast the return on investment. Methods: A large online survey of 844 peer-reviewed malaria researchers of different scientific backgrounds administered in order to estimate the probability and time frame of eradication. Adjustments were made for potential selection bias, and thematic analysis of free text comments was carried out. Results: The average perceived likelihood of global eradication among malaria researchers approximates the number of years into the future: approximately 10% of researchers believe that eradication will occur in the next 10 years, 30% believe it will occur in the next 30 years, and half believe eradication will require 50 years or more. Researchers who gave free form comments highlighted systemic challenges and the need for innovation as chief among obstacles to achieving global malaria eradication. Conclusions: The findings highlight the difficulty and complexity of malaria eradication, and can be used in prospective cost-benefit analyses to inform stakeholders regarding the likely return on eradication-specific investments.

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Brew, J., Pradhan, M., Broerse, J., & Bassat, Q. (2020). Researchers’ perceptions of malaria eradication: Findings from a mixed-methods analysis of a large online survey. Malaria Journal, 19(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12936-020-03430-2

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