Cross-border movement, economic development and malaria elimination in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Al Zahrani MH, Omar AI, Abdoon AMO, Ibrahim AA, Alhogail A, Elmubarak M, Elamin YE, AlHelal MA, Alshahrani AM, Abdelgader TM, Saeed I, El Gamri TB, Alattas MS, Dahlan AA, Assiri AM, Maina J, Li XH, Snow RW
BMC Med. 2018;16
Malaria at international borders presents particular challenges with regards to elimination. International borders share common malaria ecologies, yet neighboring countries are often at different stages of the control-to-elimination pathway. Herein, we present a case study on malaria, and its control, at the border between Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Malaria program activity reports, case data, and ancillary information have been assembled from national health information systems, archives, and other related sources. Information was analyzed as a semi-quantitative time series, between 2000 and 2017, to provide a plausibility framework to understand the possible contributions of factors related to control activities, conflict, economic development, migration, and climate. The malaria recession in the Yemeni border regions of Saudi Arabia is a likely consequence of multiple, coincidental factors, including scaled elimination activities, cross-border vector control, periods of low rainfall, and economic development. The temporal alignment of many of these factors suggests that economic development may have changed the receptivity to the extent that it mitigated against surges in vulnerability posed by imported malaria from its endemic neighbor Yemen. In many border areas of the world, malaria is likely to be sustained through a complex congruence of factors, including poverty, conflict, and migration.