Malar J. 2022 Aug 1;21(1):231. doi: 10.1186/s12936-022-04249-9.
BACKGROUND: Malaria was endemic in Sri Lanka for centuries and was eliminated in 2012. It is widely assumed that the costs of elimination are generally greater than that of control. The costs of malaria elimination in Sri Lanka with that of malaria control in the past using periods in which starting transmission dynamics were similar were compared.
METHODS: The expenditure of the Anti-Malaria Campaign (AMC), total and by budget category, during 2002-2010 is compared with that of malaria control during the period 1980-1989, using regression analyses and the Mann Whitney U statistic.
RESULTS: The expenditure on malaria control and malaria elimination was similar ranging from 21 to 45 million USD per year when adjusted for inflation. In both periods, external funding for the malaria progamme constituted around 24% of the total budget; during the control phase in the 1980s, external funds came from bilateral agencies and were disbursed in accordance with government budget guidelines. In the elimination phase in the 2000s, most of external funding was from the Global Fund and had flexibility of disbursement. In the 1980s, most funds were expended on commodities-insecticides, diagnostics and medicines and their delivery; in the elimination phase, they were spent on programme management, human resources, technical assistance and monitoring and evaluation; monitoring and evaluation was not a budget line in the 1980s. Although the cost per case of malaria was considerably higher during the elimination phase than in the control phase, expenditure was not on individual cases but on general systems strengthening.
CONCLUSION: Malaria elimination in Southeast Asia may not require more funding than malaria control. But sustained funding for an agile programme with flexibility in fund utilization and improved efficiencies in programme management with stringent monitoring and evaluation appears to be critically important.