One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, health systems throughout the world have been tested in unprecedented ways. With 124 million reported COVID-19 cases in 219 countries and territories globally, the impact of the novel coronavirus has left virtually no corner of the world untouched. While the full impact of this global pandemic on the fight against malaria is yet unknown, there are positive strides to report as revealed by the APLMA Leaders’ Dashboard 2020. Our region has shown resilience in sustaining efforts against malaria and continued to push policy reforms to support the response against this old scourge.
Malaria is a disease of the rural poor and the vulnerable. To achieve elimination by 2030 in Asia Pacific, countries must protect those most at high risk of malaria. Pregnant women and young children for example face a higher risk because of reduced immunity, yet their needs vis-à-vis malaria prevention and treatment are not being adequately met. The vulnerability to existing infectious diseases is further heightened by other health crisis of a global nature such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the public health consequences of climate change.