Most mosquito-borne diseases are preventable. As we mark World Mosquito Day (Aug. 20), we celebrate the many breakthroughs, innovations and advances we have made towards eliminating them. But it is also occasion for renewing civil society’s commitment protecting vulnerable communities against malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges the world and the global health community face. The recent landmark study by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns of increasingly extreme heatwaves, droughts and floods as a key temperature limit is exceeded in just over a decade. Shifting weather patterns not only affect the migration of people, plants, animals, and insects, but also the spread of disease, including malaria.
In December 2020, 8,000 volunteers in Pakistan's restive tribal region managed to distribute nearly 1.5 million mosquito nets to over half a million households without contracting a single known case of Covid-19. How they did it offers a valuable lesson about how health authorities, by collaborating with communities and other stakeholders, can keep new health threats from disrupting the ongoing battle against malaria and other life-threatening diseases.
This International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (Aug. 9), the UN called for a new social contract, one that expresses genuine cooperation and partnership for the common good to ensure that “no one is left behind” and to put a stop to exclusion and marginalization.
Cross border malaria is a major impediment to achieving regional malaria elimination. No country can achieve this goal in isolation. At the 4th South East Asia Regional Coordination Mechanism Forum (SRCMF), APLMA-APMEN addressed the constituency to highlight the importance of implementing cross-border cooperation for malaria control & elimination.
Preventable infectious diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria account for one third of all under-five deaths. Globally, nearly half of all deaths among children under five are attributable to malnutrition (Caulfield 2004). In Asia Pacific, 351 million people are still undernourished, and the COVID-19 pandemic will only exacerbate this figure. UNICEF estimates an additional 6-7 million children under 5 globally will suffer from acute malnutrition as a result (UNICEF 2020).
World Malaria Day 2021
April 25, 2021 marks my first World Malaria Day as CEO of the Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance (APLMA) and provides an opportunity for reflection. Fourteen years ago, while living in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea, I held a mostly listless four-year-old boy in our home. The boy was my eldest son. The cause of his illness: unknown to us. At first we did not suspect malaria- there was little, if any, where we lived in Highlands. But thinking it through further we recalled he had been to Port Moresby in the recent past so perhaps that was the culprit?