The Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network (APMEN) is excited to announce the Republic of India has joined the Network as a Country Partner in 2015.
APMEN brings together 17 countries in the Asia Pacific region that have adopted a national or sub-national goal for malaria elimination and connects them with a broad range of regional and global malaria partners to develop best practices in a united drive towards regional elimination. India will make its first official representation as a Country Partner at APMEN’s 7th annual meeting in Vietnam later this month.
As the region’s second largest malaria-endemic country with a population of more than 1.2 billion, India is an essential Country Partner in achieving a malaria-free Asia Pacific by 2030; a commitment made by the Secretary of Health and Family Welfare representing the Government of India at a meeting of the Asia Pacific Leaders’ Malaria Alliance (APLMA) last year. APLMA is an affiliation of Asian and Pacific heads of government formed to accelerate progress against malaria.
India joins APMEN with a vision to decrease malaria transmission within its borders and to move into the pre-elimination phase by 2017. According to the latest data from the World Health Organization, India has more than halved the number of malaria cases since 2000. However, there were 1,070,513 confirmed cases and 578 deaths attributed to the disease in 2014.
To achieve pre-elimination, India is focusing on micro-stratification, quality assurance of diagnostics, artemisinin resistance monitoring and integrated vector management, including biological control, upscaling the use of long-lasting insecticidal nets and indoor residual spraying, particularly in areas and populations most at risk of malaria. India’s malaria programme also plans to build strong multi-sectoral partnerships and train malaria staff and volunteers.
India’s commitment to regional malaria elimination is timely. Artemisinin resistance in the region is highlighting an alarming global health security risk, and threatening the substantial progress made toward elimination in the region.
India played an important role in establishing APLMA’s Access to Quality Medicines and other Technologies Taskforce, which was jointly led by the Secretary of the Australian Department of Finance (the then Secretary of Health), and the Secretary of the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. This task force aims to ensure the availability of safe and high-quality antimalarial products.
APMEN plays a key role in responding to the challenge of anti-malarial drug resistance by sharing lessons across countries. The Director-General of Health Services from the Indian Ministry of Health and Welfare, Dr Jagdish Prasad, said, “There are lessons to be learnt from prevention and control of multidrug-resistant malaria parasites in other APMEN countries, such as Thailand, which would be valuable information for our country’s national programme.”
Dr A.C. Dhariwal, Director of the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) which is the national nodal agency for malaria control and elimination in India, added: “By participating in annual meetings, working groups and study tours, India, like other APMEN Country Partners, will benefit from sharing experiences, identifying priorities, and developing strategies to address challenges in malaria elimination.”
Further information on APMEN, visit www.apmen.org, and find us on Facebook and Twitter.
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