LONDON — Eliminating malaria, the mosquito-borne scourge that kills more than 860,000 people a year, would be a dream come true for millions — but medical specialists say that goal remains completely unrealistic.
That view from leading researchers contrasts sharply with grand announcements by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Health Organization, which have declared their wish to rid the world of the disease.
“Far from being brave, the rhetoric around eliminating malaria is often naive,’’ said Richard Horton, editor of the British medical journal Lancet.
“For sub-Saharan Africa, it’s a hopelessly impossible target for now,’’ he said, alluding to the continent’s weak health systems and chronic medicines shortage, among other problems.
The idea of eliminating malaria was examined in a series yesterday in the Lancet. Specialists analyzed issues like the practicalities of wiping out malaria and its financial costs. Getting rid of malaria will be far pricier than controlling it, and economists warned that higher costs would not necessarily be offset by future savings.