The use of schools for malaria surveillance and programme evaluation in Africa
University of London, University of Oxford, Malaria Consortium, Wellcome Trust Res Programme
Effective malaria control requires information on both the geographical distribution of malaria risk and the effectiveness of malaria interventions. The current standard for estimating malaria infection and impact indicators are household cluster surveys, but their complexity and expense preclude frequent and decentralized monitoring. This paper reviews the historical experience and current rationale for the use of schools and school children as a complementary, inexpensive framework for planning, monitoring and evaluating malaria control in Africa. Consideration is given to (i) the selection of schools; (ii) diagnosis of infection in schools; (iii) the representativeness of schools as a proxy of the communities they serve; and (iv) the increasing need to evaluate interventions delivered through schools. Finally, areas requiring further investigation are highlighted.