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 Plan for Malaria Control and Elimination in the Western Pacific (2010–2015), endorsed by the Regional Committee in 2009, is the Region's malaria roadmap for implementing malaria interventions and to progressively eliminate malaria.
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. Plasmodium vivax malaria continues to be inadequately treated in several countries due to widespread G6PD deficiency and the lack of point-of-care tests to detect it. 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 launched a joint initiative to accelerate malaria elimination, supported by a number of partners and coordinated regionally by WHO. Strong political commitment, sustainable funding and strengthened surveillance systems will be needed to achieve the goal of a malaria-free Region.