It has been 90 years since Dr Israel Kligler first outlined a visionary malaria control and elimination program for Mandate Palestine. Having arrived from the Rockefeller Institute in 1921, Dr Kligler embarked upon pioneering epidemiological research studies and joined Hebrew University in 1925. In that same year, the prestigious League of Nations Malaria Commission (including two of the most influential malariologists of the period - NH Swellengrebel and SP James) toured Mandate Palestine. Kligler convincingly demonstrated that his integrated model , that within a short time would eliminate malaria from Mandate Palestine, could be the key to winning the global war against malaria.
Indeed, the visionary work of Dr Israel Kligler during the Mandate Palestine period was one of the most outstanding success stories of malaria control and elimination in the 20th century.
Despite many successes over the past 100 years, malaria continues to inflict a major toll on developing regions of the world, where of the reported 660,000 annual malaria deaths globally, an estimated 90% of malaria deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa each year.
The Hebrew University hosted a five-day conference that drew upon lessons learned and brought Kligler’s work back to the forefront of the malaria control and elimination discussion.
The group of 20 international experts came to Jerusalem to revisit the strategies deployed successfully for malaria (vector) elimination in Mandate Palestine. The conference also highlighted success stories from other parts of the world. Identification of prerequisites for successful elimination, augmented with recent technological advances, have paved the way for the development of novel strategies for permanent and sustainable malaria elimination.
The conference included presentations from invited participants from sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and North America, and local Israeli experts who engaged in small group work, brainstorming sessions, and plenary feedback presentations. Conference participants developed a practical malaria elimination program for one specific East African epidemiologic malaria zone and recommendations to lay the foundation for another in West Africa. In addition, a conference proceedings report is expected to be published and distributed internationally.
This timely conference provided an opportunity to explore the development of scientific research and field experience over the past 120 years and the relevance to contemporary malaria challenges. The conference honoured the pioneering scientists, especially Kligler, and their contributions to malaria control, eradication and elimination that continue to stimulate and inform the malariology world.