Health topics

Malaria

 

Malaria is a life-threatening parasitic disease transmitted to humans through the bite of infected mosquitoes. Malaria is preventable and curable. It is currently endemic in 10 countries in the Western Pacific Region, with the pattern and determinants varying significantly. The Regional Action Framework for Malaria Control and Elimination in the Western Pacific (2016-2020)is the Region's malaria roadmap for implementing malaria interventions and to progressively eliminate malaria in the region by 2030.

All 10 malaria-endemic countries in this Region are projected to achieve >75% decrease in their malaria burden between 2000 and 2015. All countries have malaria elimination goals in their national plans. However, despite significant progress, there are still daunting challenges, with the burden of malaria still high in a number of countries. Both P. falciparum and P. vivax are prevalent, but cases are due entirely to P. vivax in the Republic of Korea where there is some residual local transmission. In recent years, P. knowlesi has been recognized as the infective agent for an increasing number of cases, especially in Malaysia. In patients infected with P. vivax, the standard treatment has been updated to include a 14-day course of primaquine with ACT treatment to prevent relapse. Multidrug resistance, including resistance to artemisinin-based combination therapy, is a growing problem in the Greater Mekong Subregion, with malaria becoming almost untreatable in some areas. In response, countries have developed the Strategy for Malaria Elimination in the Greater Mekong Subregion (2015–2030) to address the needs of a sub-set of countries with a specific threat from drug resistance., Strong political commitment, sustainable funding and strengthened surveillance systems will be needed to achieve the goal of a malaria-free Region.