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Leveraging innovation technologies to respond to malaria: a systematized literature review of emerging technologies

HumanInsight Leveraging innovation technologies to respond to malaria: a systematized literature review of emerging technologies

Malar J. 2023 Feb 3;22(1):40. doi: 10.1186/s12936-023-04454-0.


BACKGROUND: In 2019, an estimated 409,000 people died of malaria and most of them were young children in sub-Saharan Africa. In a bid to combat malaria epidemics, several technological innovations that have contributed significantly to malaria response have been developed across the world. This paper presents a systematized review and identifies key technological innovations that have been developed worldwide targeting different areas of the malaria response, which include surveillance, microplanning, prevention, diagnosis and management.

METHODS: A systematized literature review which involved a structured search of the malaria technological innovations followed by a quantitative and narrative description and synthesis of the innovations was carried out. The malaria technological innovations were electronically retrieved from scientific databases that include PubMed, Google Scholar, Scopus, IEEE and Science Direct. Additional innovations were found across grey sources such as the Google Play Store, Apple App Store and cooperate websites. This was done using keywords pertaining to different malaria response areas combined with the words "innovation or technology" in a search query. The search was conducted between July 2021 and December 2021. Drugs, vaccines, social programmes, and apps in non-English were excluded. The quality of technological innovations included was based on reported impact and an exclusion criterion set by the authors.

RESULTS: Out of over 1000 malaria innovations and programmes, only 650 key malaria technological innovations were considered for further review. There were web-based innovations (34%), mobile-based applications (28%), diagnostic tools and devices (25%), and drone-based technologies (13%.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: This study was undertaken to unveil impactful and contextually relevant malaria innovations that can be adapted in Africa. This was in response to the existing knowledge gap about the comprehensive technological landscape for malaria response. The paper provides information that countries and key malaria control stakeholders can leverage with regards to adopting some of these technologies as part of the malaria response in their respective countries. The paper has also highlighted key drivers including infrastructural requirements to foster development and scaling up of innovations. In order to stimulate development of innovations in Africa, countries should prioritize investment in infrastructure for information and communication technologies and also drone technologies. These should be accompanied by the right policies and incentive frameworks.

PMID:36737741 | DOI:10.1186/s12936-023-04454-0

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