Malaria in the Greater Mekong Subregion: Regional and Country Profiles
This report provides an overview of the epidemiological patterns of malaria in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) from 1998 to 2007, and highlights critical challenges facing National Malaria Control Programmes and partners as they move towards malaria elimination as a programmatic goal. Epidemiological data provided by malaria programmes show a drastic decline in malaria deaths and confirmed malaria cases over the last 10 years in the GMS. More than half of confirmed malaria cases and deaths in the GMS occur in Myanmar. However, reporting methods and data management are not comparable between countries despite the effort made by WHO to harmonize data collection, analysis and reporting among Member States. Malaria is concentrated in forested/forest-fringe areas of the Region, mainly along international borders. This providing a strong rationale to develop harmonized cross-border elimination programmes in conjunction with national efforts. Across the Mekong Region, the declining efficacy of recommended first-line antimalarials, e.g. artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) against falciparum malaria on the Cambodia-Thailand border; the prevalence of counterfeit and substandard antimalarial drugs; the lack of health services in general and malaria services in particular in remote settings; and the lack of information and services targeting migrants and mobile population present important barriers to reach or maintain malaria elimination programmatic goals. Strengthening the networking between research institutions, nongovernmental organizations and national malaria programmes, perhaps through a supranational body like the ASEAN, will facilitate knowledge-based decision and action.