A research agenda for malaria eradication: monitoring, evaluation, and surveillance.
Monitoring, evaluation, and surveillance measure how well public health programs operate over time and achieve their goals. As countries approach malaria elimination, these activities will need to shift from measuring reductions in morbidity and mortality, to detecting infections (with or without symptoms) and measuring transmission. Thus, the monitoring and evaluation and surveillance research and development agenda needs to develop the tools and strategies that will replace passive surveillance of morbidity with active and prompt detection of infection, including confirmation of interruption of transmission by detecting present and past infections, particularly in mobile populations. The capacity to assess trends and respond without delay will need to be developed, so that surveillance itself becomes an intervention. Research is also needed to develop sensitive field tests that can detect low levels of parasitaemia, together with strategies for their implementation. Other areas to explore include the rigorous evaluation of the utility of more detailed maps of disease and infection incidence and prevalence, the development of new maps to inform programmatic responses and the use of surveillance technologies based on cell phone or real-time internet Web-based reporting. Because any new strategies for monitoring and evaluation and surveillance for eradication have major implications for program implementation, research is also needed to test systems of delivery for acceptability, feasibility, efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and community engagement. Finally, there is a clear need to systematically review the information from past elimination efforts for malaria and other infectious diseases.