In literature related to malaria, one of three terms is used to describe an organisation’s aims. Either to control malaria, eliminate malaria or to eradicate malaria. But what do these terms actually mean? Whilst it is universally acknowledged that the words mean to decrease malaria prevalence, there are some nuances in them to mean slightly different things.

Control

This is a common word used in malaria documentation, you may hear of a government launching a malaria control program. Controlling malaria means to reduce malaria transmission so that it is under control. To achieve this aim, preventative measures are used to protect individuals. Such measures may include long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) or indoor residual spraying (IRS).

Elimination

The word ‘elimination’ is used to describe the end goal of a country’s ‘National Malaria Control Program’. The word means to reduce malaria incidence to zero in a defined geographical area. For example, in 2018, the World Health Organisation declared that Paraguay had officially eliminated malaria.

Eradication

This word is often used in the bigger picture of malaria. Its definition is similar to ‘elimination’, in that its aim is to reduce malaria incidence to zero, but this time on a global scale.