Original Research

From malaria control to elimination in South Africa: The researchers’ perspectives

Khumbulani W. Hlongwana, Joyce Tsoka-Gwegweni
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 8, No 1 | a1078 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v8i1.1078 | © 2016 Khumbulani W. Hlongwana, Joyce Tsoka-Gwegweni | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 October 2015 | Published: 29 July 2016

About the author(s)

Khumbulani W. Hlongwana, School of Nursing & Public Health, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Joyce Tsoka-Gwegweni, School of Nursing & Public Health, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Global decline in malaria episodes over the past decade gave rise to a debate to target malaria elimination in eligible countries. However, investigation regarding researchers’ perspectives on barriers and facilitating factors to effective implementation of a malaria elimination policy in South Africa (SA) is lacking.
Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate the malaria researchers’ knowledge, understandings, perceived roles, and their perspectives on the factors influencing implementation of a malaria elimination policy in SA.
Setting: Participants were drawn from the researchers who fulfilled the eligibility criteria as per the protocol, and the criteria were not setting-specific.
Methods: The study was a descriptive cross-sectional survey conducted through an emailed self-administered semi-structured questionnaire amongst malaria researchers who met the set selection criteria and signed informed consent.
Results: Most (92.3%) participants knew about SA’s malaria elimination policy, but only 45.8% had fully read it. The majority held a strong view that SA’s 2018 elimination target was not realistic, citing that the policy had neither been properly adapted to the country’s operational setting nor sufficiently disseminated to all relevant healthcare workers. Key concerns raised were lack of new tools, resources, and capacity to fight malaria; poor cross-border collaborations; overreliance on partners to implement; poor community involvement; and poor surveillance.
Conclusion: Malaria elimination is a noble idea, with sharp divisions. However, there is a general agreement that elimination requires: (a) strong cross-border initiatives; (b) deployment of adequate resources; (c) sustainable multistakeholder support and collaboration; (d) good surveillance systems; and (e) availability and use of all effective intervention tools.

Keywords

Researchers; malaria elimination; implementation; policy; South Africa

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Crossref Citations

1. Towards the implementation of malaria elimination policy in South Africa: the stakeholders’ perspectives
Khumbulani Welcome Hlongwana, Joyce Tsoka-Gwegweni
Global Health Action  vol: 10  issue: 1  first page: 1288954  year: 2017  
doi: 10.1080/16549716.2017.1288954