Zero malaria starts with me
Commemorated every 25 April, World Malaria Day highlights the need for sustained investment and political commitment for malaria prevention, control and elimination. This year’s campaign, “Zero malaria starts with me,” is a grassroots campaign that emphasizes country ownership and community empowerment of malaria prevention and care.
After more than a decade of steady advances in fighting malaria, progress has leveled off. According to WHO’s latest World Malaria Report, the estimated number of malaria cases remained virtually unchanged, approximately 219 million globally, in the period 2015 to 2017. The number of estimated deaths during that same period was 435,000.
the WHO Western Pacific Region, countries reported a 47% increase of malaria cases and a 43% increase of malaria deaths during the period 2015 to 2017. The increase was largely due to outbreaks reported from Papua New Guinea, Cambodia and Solomon Islands which jointly account for 92% of the malaria burden in the region. The region is also seeing incredible progress in some endemic countries, China and Malaysia have reported no indigenous human malaria cases in 2018 and Cambodia has reported zero deaths from malaria in 2018, all very significant achievements.
The Regional Action Framework for Malaria Control and Elimination in the Western Pacific 2016-2020 highlights the need to build on past successes and to accelerate progress through prioritizing investments through targeted deployment of interventions based on strengthened surveillance systems.
The “Zero malaria starts with me” campaign aims to engage all members of society: political leaders who control government policy decisions and budgets; private sector companies that will benefit from a malaria-free workforce; healthcare providers working towards controlling and eliminating malaria and most importantly communities affected by malaria, whose buy-in and ownership of malaria control interventions is critical to success.
Urgent action is needed to address outbreaks in the highest burden countries. Ownership of the challenge lies in the hands of countries most affected by malaria and community empowerment is critical to support grassroots engagement across the Region.
The time for decisive action is now. Working together, we can achieve a malaria-free Region.