Determinants of Malaria Program Expenditures during Elimination: Case Study Evidence from Select Provinces in the Philippines

Liu, Jenny X.; Newby, Gretchen; Brackery, Aprielle; Gueye, Cara Smith; Candari, Christine J.; Escubil, Luz R.; Vestergaard, Lasse S.; Baquilod, Mario

Even though eliminating malaria from the endemic margins is a part of the Global Malaria Action Plan, little guidance exists on what resources are needed to transition from controlling malaria to eliminating it. Using Philippines as an example, this study aimed to (1) estimate the financial resources used by sub-national malaria programs in different phases during elimination and (2) understand how different environmental and organizational factors may influence expenditure levels and spending proportions. The Philippines provides an opportunity to study variations in sub-national programs because its epidemiological and ecological diversity, devolved health system, and progressive elimination strategy all allow greater flexibility for lower-level governments to direct activities, but also create challenges for coordination and resource mobilization. Through key informant interviews and archival record retrieval in four selected provinces chosen based on eco-epidemiological variation, expenditures associated with provincial malaria programs were collected for selected years (mid-1990s to 2010). Results show that expenditures per person at risk per year decrease as programs progress from a state of controlled low-endemic malaria to elimination to prevention of reintroduction regardless of whether elimination was deliberately planned. However, wide variation across provinces were found: expenditures were generally higher if mainly financed with donor grants, but were moderated by the level of economic development, the level of malaria transmission and receptivity, and the capacity of program staff. Across all provinces, strong leadership appears to be a necessary condition for maintaining progress and is vital in controlling outbreaks. While sampled provinces and years may not be representative of other sub-national malaria programs, these findings suggest that the marginal yearly cost declines with each phase during elimination.

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Mailman School of Public Health
Public Library of Science
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February 28, 2014