Sub-national tailoring of malaria interventions in Mainland Tanzania: simulation of the impact of strata-specific intervention combinations using modelling

Runge M, Thawer SG, Molteni F, Chacky F, Mkude S, Mandike R, Snow RW, Lengeler C, Mohamed A, Pothin E
Malar J. 2022;21

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BACKGROUND: To accelerate progress against malaria in high burden countries, a strategic reorientation of resources at the sub-national level is needed. This paper describes how mathematical modelling was used in mainland Tanzania to support the strategic revision that followed the mid-term review of the 2015-2020 national malaria strategic plan (NMSP) and the epidemiological risk stratification at the council level in 2018. METHODS: Intervention mixes, selected by the National Malaria Control Programme, were simulated for each malaria risk strata per council. Intervention mixes included combinations of insecticide-treated bed nets (ITN), indoor residual spraying, larval source management, and intermittent preventive therapies for school children (IPTsc). Effective case management was either based on estimates from the malaria indicator survey in 2016 or set to a hypothetical target of 85%. A previously calibrated mathematical model in OpenMalaria was used to compare intervention impact predictions for prevalence and incidence between 2016 and 2020, or 2022. RESULTS: For each malaria risk stratum four to ten intervention mixes were explored. In the low-risk and urban strata, the scenario without a ITN mass campaign in 2019, predicted high increase in prevalence by 2020 and 2022, while in the very-low strata the target prevalence of less than 1% was maintained at low pre-intervention transmission intensity and high case management. In the moderate and high strata, IPTsc in addition to existing vector control was predicted to reduce the incidence by an additional 15% and prevalence by 22%. In the high-risk strata, all interventions together reached a maximum reduction of 76%, with around 70% of that reduction attributable to high case management and ITNs. Overall, the simulated revised NMSP was predicted to achieve a slightly lower prevalence in 2020 compared to the 2015-2020 NMSP (5.3% vs 6.3%). CONCLUSION: Modelling supported the choice of intervention per malaria risk strata by providing impact comparisons of various alternative intervention mixes to address specific questions relevant to the country. The use of a council-calibrated model, that reproduces local malaria trends, represents a useful tool for compiling available evidence into a single analytical platform, that complement other evidence, to aid national programmes with decision-making processes.