Eliminating malaria from the Greater Mekong subregion
WHO is working on developing a regional malaria elimination strategy for the Greater Mekong subregion (GMS). The strategy is being drafted under the aegis of the Regional Hub for the Emergency Response to Artemisinin Resistance in an inclusive and transparent manner.
The process follows the conclusion by the Malaria Policy Advisory Committee (MPAC) in September 2014 that P. falciparum elimination in the GMS is technically feasible and should be the recommended public health response to address the challenge of growing parasite resistance to artemisinin and partner drugs.
In parallel, the 9th East Asia Summit in Myanmar (November 2014) agreed to the goal of an Asia-Pacific free of malaria by 2030.
Strategy development process
The first draft of the GMS malaria elimination strategy was presented by WHO to countries and partners at a workshop in Cambodia in November 2014. Having reviewed the proposed goals of the draft strategy, participants agreed that the elimination effort should encompass all parasite species, and not just P. falciparum.
Following this discussion, WHO prepared a second draft and presented it at in-country consultations in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam. After further revisions were integrated, WHO presented a third draft to affected countries and partners at the ERAR regional consultation in Thailand in February 2015.
WHO plans to put the next version online for public consultation. The strategy will be finalized following the MPAC’s review, and is scheduled to be launched in May 2015. Once published, the strategy will be used to update national malaria strategic plans in the GMS, and will serve as the basis for a regional action plan for malaria elimination.
Implementation of the regional elimination strategy will require robust and predictable financing. According to a feasibility study produced for WHO in September 2014, malaria elimination in the GMS would cost over US$ 3 billion between 2015 and 2030.