Eliminating Malaria In Our Region

Courtesy of Burnet Institute

Burnet is proud to be partnering in an Australian Government initiative to support governments and communities across the Pacific and Southeast Asia deliver new tools and build critical skills to eliminate malaria.

Countries in the Pacific and Southeast Asia region have committed to eliminating malaria, but the challenges of the malaria epidemiology and differing socio-economic profiles in the region mean a suite of strategies and tools are needed to sustain progress toward elimination.

According to the 2023 World Malaria Report, in 2022 “there were an estimated 249 million malaria cases in 85 endemic countries and areas – an increase of 5 million cases compared with 2021”.

Indonesia, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea carry the highest disease burden in terms of number of cases in the region. Slower progress toward its elimination in some countries of the region puts at risk the efforts of neighbouring countries, including the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Thailand, and China. Sustainable access to diagnostic tools is needed to keep up the momentum in the fight against malaria.

With support from the Australian government, through Partnerships for a Healthy Region – PATH – Burnet Institute and WEHI are receiving funding to implement a project that integrates proven product-development capacity with strong regional and national relationships and partnerships in the Pacific and Southeast Asia regions.

Burnet Institute Director for Health Security and Pandemic Preparedness Professor Leanne Robinson said there was value in organisations working together to solve this complex health challenge.

“There are numerous challenges for malaria diagnosis, treatment, surveillance, and control in our region – inadequate sensitivity of the currently available rapid diagnostic tests, particularly for Plasmodium vivax malaria, prevents timely access to effective treatments,” she said.

“We welcome the opportunity to work with partners to evaluate the next generation of malaria diagnostics that will address some of these key barriers to elimination in the Indo-Pacific region.

“Through effective partnerships with communities and partner governments, we will support evidence-based policy and implementation to advance equitable access to effective diagnostics to accelerate malaria elimination.”

The partnership will advance a portfolio of high-quality diagnostics to ensure equitable access to optimal malaria treatment options across genders and populations at risk of exclusion, as well as to accelerate eliminating malaria in accordance with national and regional aspirations in the Pacific and Southeast Asia regions.

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