Malaria elimination in the Philippines will provide a return on investment of 13:1

A new investment case report from the MEI—in collaboration with the Philippines National Malaria Control and Elimination Program (NMCEP) and Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc.—highlights the phenomenal return on investment (13:1) for malaria elimination in the Philippines.

The investment case, which leverages several approaches including a micro-costing of the current malaria program and a cost-benefit analysis, estimates the cost of the malaria program in 2015 and articulates the economic benefits of malaria elimination in the Philippines. The report also explores potential options to meet and sustain adequate financing for malaria in the Philippines, particularly given the national goal to eliminate the disease by 2030.

Main findings from the new report, summarized in a research brief, include:

  • Investments in malaria elimination provide a 13 to 1 return in the Philippines.
  • Malaria activities in the Philippines were estimated to cost US$1.03 per capita in 2015. The Government of the Philippines covered the largest share of the total cost (82%), and the remaining costs were met by contributions from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
  • The major cost drivers of malaria activities in the Philippines were prevention and vector control (42% of total cost), diagnosis (24%), and program management (15%).
  • A five-year resurgence of malaria could cost approximately US$1.55 billion in excess healthcare spending, foregone income from lost productivity, and increased out-of-pocket household expenditures.
  • Based on the costs of current malaria programming and available financing, the estimated funding gap for malaria in the Philippines for 2016-2020 is US$11.8 million.

Findings from the investment case support the call for sustained domestic financing for malaria elimination. Facing financial uncertainty and an inevitable transition from Global Fund assistance, the NMCEP will need to maintain government commitment to malaria elimination, particularly in the context of declining malaria burden. Provinces and municipalities wield great influence in determining and funding local heath priorities through the sub-national budget process. Areas that have recently been certified malaria-free or achieved zero indigenous cases require increased resources for surveillance and case detection, while higher-transmission areas need maximum coverage of core preventive measures and universal access to diagnosis and treatment services. Investing in malaria is considered a “best buy” in health and achieving elimination will require sustained effort and investment.

For further information about this work, please contact Rima Shretta.