SAN FRANCISCO — The news that progress in the fight against malaria has stalled signals the need for a new strategy, according to Bill Gates — and data and surveillance should be at the heart of it.
“I view data as the lifeblood of how we’re going to be smarter,” he said at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Malaria Summit in London on Wednesday, where he announced commitments including $1 billion for research and development efforts to end malaria.
Bill Gates aims to eradicate malaria from the face of the earth — and he could be in for the fight of his life. On the sidelines of Davos, he tells Devex’s Raj Kumar how a comprehensive approach, including innovative new tools, could one day make this disease history.
Gates emphasized the importance of leveraging data in making continued progress against the disease — from the geographical detail made possible by technologies such as mobile phones and satellites, to the genetic sequencing of geolocated mosquito and parasite samples.
“There is pretty broad agreement from most of the actors over here, whether it be on the drug or the vector front, that without getting this data they are not able to target their interventions and these resources are wasted,” Trevor Mundel, president of global health at the Gates Foundation, told Devex. “I would say the challenge is almost everyone agrees surveillance is a good thing, a healthy thing for the system, but to actually get action on surveillance is a little bit more difficult.”