Staying the Course to End Malaria - Partners Update April 2021
Flags of ASEAN
Staying the Course to End Malaria
Earlier in the year, as the rest of world tightened restrictions to fight COVID-19, Asia flattened its curve of infections. Some countries even began reopening its economies. For a brief moment there was hope. Now the pandemic is soaring – from Papua New Guinea to Indonesia, Thailand and India, our region faces new waves and new variants of COVID-19. The pressure on healthcare systems is mounting, people are suffering; we struggle with vaccine access, particularly where the needs are most. The situation is heart-breaking.
Many of us have just marked World Malaria 2021, an opportunity to focus the world’s attention on the significant progress to date in our region while also emphasizing the importance of continued, investment and political will to sustain the momentum towards malaria elimination. An opportunity to also shine a spotlight on the malaria champions across our countries and network who have been working tirelessly to maintain malaria services whilst battling COVID-19. We are grateful.
COVID-19 has certainly disrupted Asia Pacific’s progress towards malaria elimination, but there have been positive strides; from a steady reduction in cases over the last decade to many countries at the cusp of elimination. Our Leaders’ Dashboard 2020 revealed the region has shown great resilience in sustaining efforts against malaria and continued to push policy reforms, even during the pandemic. While, the COVID-19 alone is proving itself to be disastrous in many ways, its impact will be significantly more devastating if permitted to interrupt health services required to treat malaria and other diseases.
If there are any lessons to be learned from the pandemic, for malaria and other communicable diseases, it is optimizing surveillance and real-time data to inform program planning at local and district levels. This must be combined with a sustained emphasis on long-term capacity building at district and subnational levels for disease program management, to reach the last mile in malaria elimination.
Thank you all for your continued partnership - stay safe and well.
Dr Sarthak Das , DrPH
Chief Executive Officer
Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance
World Malaria Day News Snapshot
- The Daily Telegraph, Ancient killer vs novel threat: how the fights against malaria and Covid-19 compare
- The Jakarta Post, The Pandemic Papua and a Path Forward
- The Hindu, 116 districts in India reported zero malaria cases in 2020: Health minister Harsh Vardhan
- DevPolicy Blog, Malaria elimination in the Asia-Pacific: the COVID-19 threat
- The Guardian, New vaccine success for Oxford is truly remarkable
- Health Policy Watch, WHO Launches Initiative To End Malaria in 25 Countries On The Cusp Of Disease Elimination
- Devex, Raj Panjabi: Address bias, health worker pay gaps to end malaria
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