April 26, 2023
New Delhi – Malaria remains a major life-threatening disease caused by five species of Plasmodium Plasmodium, which are transmitted through the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito.
of World Health Organization (WHO) Global Malaria Report 2022 reports an estimated 247 million cases of malaria worldwide in 2021 and an estimated 619,000 deaths from malaria. Of these, African countries bear the heaviest share of cases (95%) and deaths (96%).
The WHO Southeast Asia Region reports an increase of 8.4% (2021 data). The WHO Western Pacific Region reversed the upward trend from 2020, with malaria cases down 14% to near 2019 levels. In the WHO Mediterranean Region, malaria increased by 44% between 2015 and 2021, after a 38% decrease between 2000 and 2015.
On 24 April, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of India and the Asia-Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance launched a Malaria Eradication Program to review progress in malaria elimination and renew its commitment to eradicate malaria from the region by 2030. Hosted the Asia-Pacific Leaders Conference.
The world map of malaria has gradually shrunk over the last few decades. Between 1955 and 2023, 41 countries and 1 region have eliminated malaria using available tools. During the same period, malaria disappeared without specific intervention or did not exist at all in another 61 countries. Malaria is still endemic in 20 of the 48 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and aggressive and targeted interventions in these countries can end malaria.
Public health experts, ministries of health in endemic countries, and many global organizations (Global Fund, World Health Organization, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, US President’s Malaria Initiative, Rollback Malaria Partnership to End Malaria, Asia-Pacific Regional Leaders Malaria Alliance, African Leaders Malaria Alliance, South Africa Development Community Malaria Elimination Eight Initiative, Global Institute for Disease Elimination, End Malaria Council, Medicine for Malaria Ventures, Innovative Vector Control Consortium, and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ) has undertaken an unprecedented effort. A cooperative way to end malaria.
Imagine Asia Pacific. No one dies from malaria, and no one gets sick from it. Children will not miss school, education will not be interrupted, women will get pregnant safely without malaria, healthy babies will be born and people will not miss it. We can work uninterruptedly, feed our families, and our nations won’t have to spend forever on malaria control and treatment programs.
Recent malaria eradication successes in Sri Lanka, Maldives and China give us optimism that malaria can be eradicated from other Asia-Pacific countries.
However, there are also concerns to share. Some of the immediate threats to malaria eradication efforts in Myanmar, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands are challenges such as civil war, political instability, natural disasters, weak health systems and the inability to absorb external aid. .
From India, we have an experience to share from the Comprehensive Malaria Eradication Demonstration Project in Madhya Pradesh. This project has provided valuable information that can be used for local, national and regional eradication programmes.
Key learnings from the Mandla project include: 2) Independent review by public health experts. 3) Data analysis in real time. 4) Regular briefings at national and local level. 5) Share data through peer-reviewed publications.
I argue that malaria-free India and most countries in the Asia-Pacific region are within reach by 2030.
Extending the ‘Malaria-Free Nation Starts With Me’ advocacy campaign from Africa to the Asia-Pacific region would be a much-needed boost. The campaign will be initiated by the Prime Minister and preferably led by the Minister of Health, Chief/State Minister, Secretary of State, State Chief Health Secretary to District Collector, Chief Medical and Health Officer. district level.
For the timely realization of the goal of malaria eradication, a malaria-free Asia-Pacific region must be a goal for all and viewed through the lens of the Decade of Cooperation with a holistic approach.
A malaria-free Asia and Pacific region is achievable by 2030. Because safe, effective and affordable diagnostic tests, drugs and vector control tools are available and made in the region.
It will be difficult to maintain malaria elimination from those who have achieved malaria elimination unless the entire region is freed from malaria. This challenge can be overcome through meaningful cross-border cooperation by invoking ‘whole country’ and ‘whole region’ approaches.
Therefore, now is the time for a participatory approach to ending malaria permanently in all Asia-Pacific countries through collective leadership and investment of resources by governments and targeted and sustained external support by aid agencies. It’s time to do
I am Sun Pharma’s Senior Advisor, Global Health and Innovation, Director of the Malaria Eradication Demonstration Project, and former Board Member of the Asia-Pacific Leaders’ Malaria Alliance.