A team of researchers has said that achieving success in the global fight against malaria may require a concurrent attack on the world's most neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).
Peter J. Hotez and David H. Molyneux said that concentrating efforts on malaria alone is unlikely to sustain malaria control or achieve its eradication.
They suggested an integrated approach, linking malaria and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).
"In Sub-Saharan Africa, where more than 90 per cent of malaria deaths occur, children and pregnant women are simultaneously infected with both malaria and a group of other parasitic diseases, known as the neglected tropical diseases," Environmental News Network quoted the researchers as saying.
Together, malaria and the seven most common NTDs cause two million deaths a year.
Anaemia is often caused by malaria and NTD co-infection, accounting for up to half of malaria deaths in young children.
Hotez and Molyneux say that given the geographical overlap of malaria and NTDs, joint programmes for control are a viable option that is 'too great for us to ignore'.
The researchers point out that parallel efforts are necessary both to strengthen Africa's health systems, and to address the lack of access to essential medicines and long-lasting insecticide-treated nets.
They believe that this integrated approach can have a significant impact on the achievement of the Millenium Development Goals.
The study is published in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.