Common experiences provide platform for effective control of vivax malaria

Common experiences provide platform for effective control of vivax malaria

Ways to effectively control vivax malaria are at the centre of this year’s World Malaria Day activities in the World Health Organization (WHO) South-East Asia and the Western Pacific Regions.

Representatives from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Republic of Korea and Sri Lanka met in New Delhi on 23-24 April to discuss on ways to better control and contain the spread of vivax malaria, which is one of the malaria strains prevalent in these two regions.

During the meeting, the current situation of vivax malaria in Asia and the progress of work in capacity development were reviewed as well as ways to operationalize the monitoring and evaluation of the control of vivax malaria in Asia.

Plasmodium vivax causes malaria symptoms and relapses. Patients infected by this parasite suffer from frequent relapses (mainly of fever) within one to three years after a single inoculation of parasites from mosquito bites. Though vivax malaria is not absolutely fatal and the parasites usually cause mild symptoms compared to the “killer” Plasmodium falciparum which is prevalent in sub-tropical Africa, recent evidence from India indicated that the vivax malaria occasionally causes severe manifestations and even death.

“These countries bring to the table a wealth of experience in controlling the vivax malaria. We are confident that pertinent experience and lessons have been shared in an effort to control the spread of vivax malaria especially along the border of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Republic of Korea,” said Dr Samlee Plianbangchang, Regional Director of the WHO South-East Asia Region.

“Malaria in Asia is different from malaria in Africa. Vivax malaria is less known and we need to understand more its epidemiology and control interventions. Malaria control is a complex issue in Asia and is particularly sensitive to environmental changes,” the Regional Director stressed.
The decade 2000-2010 is the decade of “Roll Back Malaria” and Member States of WHO have committed to halving the global malaria burden by 2010. The clock ticks on this World Malaria Day 2009, with exactly 614 days left to achieve this target.