B7: How public health and scientific improvement controlled malaria and helped win WWII

Tuesday 21 June 2022 | 13:15-14:30

Format: Workshop
Stream: Population and Public Health
Content filters: Features discussion of improvement methodology

Malaria caused more casualties than the battlefield in the WWII Pacific Theatre. Attack rates exceeded 100% in some regions due to repeated infections. Critical supply nodes in West Africa were paralyzed by malaria. Using public health methods and basic improvement science concepts (before the birth of “improvement science”), malaria was virtually eradicated in Ghana and Liberia. This effort – part of the US “Malaria Project” – featured innovation, experimentation, context-sensitive sustainable implementation of a “bundle” of interventions, reliable systems, and successful scale-up. The Malaria Project provides powerful lessons for how public health strategies plus rigorous improvement methods can mitigate global health challenges.

After this session, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the core elements of successful campaigns to eradicate or nearly eradicate major global infectious disease threats, focusing on malaria in WWII, but also considering smallpox, guinea worm, and polio

  • Understand how improvement science concepts and public health approaches can work synergistically to address contemporary health and health care challenges

  • Incorporate historical lessons for ethical human research in current efforts to address pandemics and other urgent global problems

Don Goldmann, Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI); USA