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Malaysia vows to achieve 2020 malaria elimination date, encourages regional action

 

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – The Ministry of Health has reaffirmed its strong commitment to eliminate malaria in Malaysia by the year 2020, as part of a regional vision of a malaria-free Asia Pacific by 2030. 

Speaking on Wednesday (21 January) at a meeting of the Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network (APMEN) Vector Control Working Group, Malaysia’s Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya said well concerted efforts by the national Malaria Control Programme were contributing to declining malaria cases in the country, and achieving zero local malaria cases is the next step.

“For year 2015, we are targeting all states in Peninsular Malaysia and Labuan will not have any locally transmitted malaria cases,” Dr Yahaya said.

“For Sabah and Sarawak, a similar achievement of zero locally transmitted malaria cases is targeted by end of 2017 and Malaysia will receive WHO certification of malaria elimination by 2020, if all goes according to plan.”

Malaysia has embarked on implementing the National Strategic Plan for the Elimination of Malaria (NSPEM) 2011 – 2020, and is backed by strong political leadership and regional collaboration.

When asked if the Ministry of Health believes elimination of malaria in Malaysia is possible, Deputy Director-General for Public Health, Datuk Dr Lokman Sulaiman said, "Yes, it is achievable."

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak was among the 18 leaders at the 9th East Asia Summit, hosted by Myanmar in November 2014, to declare a regional goal of “an Asia Pacific free of Malaria by 2030”.

As the 2015 Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Malaysia has the key role of hosting the 10th East Asia Summit in December when a roadmap to achieve malaria elimination in the Asia Pacific by 2030 will be agreed upon by the region’s leaders.

The current Malaria Control Programme in Malaysia aims to maintain robust case-based surveillance and response for malaria, including a focus of efforts on providing surveillance, diagnosis and treatment for hard-to-reach and mobile populations.

In areas where the Malaria Control Programme has already been successful in getting zero transmission of malaria cases, funding and resource commitments are needed to prevent reintroduction of the disease. The partnership with private sector plantations is one way that Malaysia has ensured services to these at risk populations.

The successful collaboration with private sector plantations for surveillance and vector control is highlighted in a case study on Malaysia’s elimination programme, Progress toward Elimination in Malaysia, which was developed by the Ministry of Health Malaysia, the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Global Health Group and the World Health Organization Global Malaria Programme.

The Malaysian case study aims to share the experience and lessons learned from Malaysia for other countries considering or embarking upon elimination, in particular the countries of the Asia Pacific, for which the goal is regional malaria elimination by 2030.

According to the recent World Malaria Report 2014, Malaysia has reduced the number of cases of malaria by 70% since 2000.

For more information on the malaria elimination goals of APMEN, please visit our website www.apmen.org

Related article: Zero Locally Transmitted Malaria Case Targeted In 2015 - Dr Hilmi (http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v7/newsindex.php?id=1102785)

 

Delegates at the APMEN Vector Control Working Group meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, January 21, 2015.

Delegates at the APMEN Vector Control Working Group meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, January 21, 2015.

 

L-R: Malaysian Deputy Director-General (Public Health) Dr Lokman Sulaiman, Dr Angela Macdonald (Australian Deputy Head of Mission, Malaysia), Professor Maxine Whittaker (Co-coordinator, APMEN Secretariat), Malaysian Deputy Health Minister Dr Hilmi Yahaya, Malaysian Deputy Director-General (Medical) Dr Jeyaindran Sinnadurai, Dr Christina Rundi (State Director, Sabah Department of Health, Ministry of Health Malaysia, and Chair, APMEN Vector Control Working Group), Dr Tessa Knox (WHO Global Malaria Programme), Dr Rabi Abeyasinghe (WHO WPRO), Dr Chee Keong Chong (Director of Disease Control Division, Ministry of Health Malaysia).