Paul P. Weinstein Memorial Lecture

Will it be possible to accelerate policy change and build consensus to free the world of malaria?

Bernard Nahlen, MD

Deputy Coordinator | President’s Malaria Initiative
USAID | Bureau for Global Health
Office of Health, Infectious Disease & Nutrition

Over a half century ago, an international campaign to eradicate malaria made substantial progress in many areas, mainly outside Africa, which was largely excluded from this “global” strategy.  Despite initial success, with the emergence and spread of chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum parasites and DDT-resistant Anopheles mosquitoes, political and financial commitments soon began to wane.  This resulted in a global resurgence of malaria, including in areas where it had been eliminated.  In October, 2007, Bill and Melinda Gates issued a renewed call for complete eradication to be adopted as the long-term global goal in the fight against malaria, a vision which was immediately echoed by the Director Geneva of WHO.  Recent successes in reducing malaria morbidity and mortality even in the highest burden countries in Africa and progress in development of new tools have provided new impetus for this vision.  Experience from the age-old fight against malaria indicates that the most effective control programs deliver a combination of tools and that the efficacy of the current tools will continue to be challenged by changes in the parasite and the mosquito. Therefore, while it will be possible to eliminate malaria from many areas with the tools available now, major investments in research to improve existing tools and delivery strategies and to develop new tools will be required to eradicate malaria.  To achieve this ambitious goal key groups—including endemic countries, technical agencies, donors and the scientific community—must align policies and resources behind a common approach.  This talk will provide an overview of efforts to align partners around agreed upon strategies and plans to intensify malaria control efforts and will highlight the need to accelerate the policy change process as we push aggressively towards a malaria-free world. 

Dr. Bernard Nahlen has been Deputy Coordinator of the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative since 2007.  A graduate of the University of Notre Dame (BA, Class of 1975) and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences  (MD, 1983, he completed a residency in Family Practice at the University of California, San Francisco, before joining the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (HHS/CDC) in 1986 as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer.   In 1989, he completed a second residency in Preventive Medicine and later served as Deputy Director of the Los Angeles County AIDS Epidemiology Program.  Dr. Nahlen’s commitment to malaria prevention and control subsequently took him to Kenya in 1992 as Director of the CDC field research station in collaboration with the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI).  In 2000, he served as Senior Technical Advisor to the WHO Malaria Programme. At WHO, he led the Monitoring and Evaluation team as well as the Malaria in Pregnancy team. He served as the first chair of the Roll Back Malaria Monitoring and Evaluation Reference Group.   From 2005-2006, Dr. Nahlen was Senior Advisor in the Performance Evaluation and Policy unit of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria as a. Dr. Nahlen has authored or co-authored more than 150 articles related to malaria prevention and control.