A campaign led by the US international aid agency aims to fight malaria among more than 3 million people in 33 townships across Kayin and Rakhine states, and Tanintharyi Region over the next five years.

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) is touting its “Defeat Malaria” initiative as a follow-on to its Control and Prevention of Malaria (CAP-Malaria) program, which had a particular focus on artemisinin-resistant malaria and benefited 29 townships in five states and regions from 2011 to 2016.

“Over the course of the project, 573,932 people were tested for malaria and 23,225 positive cases were appropriately treated. CAP-Malaria reached an area with nearly 1 million people, providing testing and treatment and achieving a 37 percent reduction of malaria incidence,” said a USAID statement released yesterday to coincide with the Defeat Malaria launch in Nay Pyi Taw.

The new US$32 million program will function in collaboration with the Myanmar National Malaria Control Program and community-based groups to “introduce innovations to accelerate successful treatment of drug-resistant cases, integrated community case management and real-time data reporting”, according to the statement, which noted that Defeat Malaria is part of a broader commitment to eliminate the mosquito-borne disease across the Asia-Pacific region by 2030.

“This ambitious but achievable goal is a rallying cry to redouble our efforts in support of the National Malaria Program. Today I want to reaffirm the US government’s commitment to work closely with the Ministry of Health and Sports, donors and partners in support of this challenging and bold endeavour,” US ambassador to Myanmar Scot Marciel said in the capital yesterday at the Defeat Malaria program launch.

Health experts have becoming increasingly concerned in recent years about the spread of artemisinin-resistant malaria along the Myanmar-Thailand border. A study released in June found that in addition to rising artemisinin resistance, the growing frequency of genetic mutations in a parasite prevalent on the border were rendering a cocktail of drugs used to fight malaria – given the artemisinin-only impotence – increasingly less effective.

According to the World Health Organization, last year Myanmar had 152,195 reported malaria cases.

Link: http://www.mmtimes.com/index.php/national-news/22163-us-aid-program-targets-malaria-in-33-townships.html