Despite many successes across Asia and the Pacific in reducing the incidence of malaria, the disease continues to be a heavy burden for many countries, with an estimated 2.2 billion people at risk in the region.
Growing resistance to simple-to-use, effective malaria drugs and sub-optimal delivery of malaria treatment, in particular for mobile and migrant populations, are both widespread throughout the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). Lack of timely and comprehensive disease surveillance and inadequate cross-border and multi-sectoral cooperation are also serious obstacles to malaria elimination. Together, they threaten to undo all the progress to date toward elimination of this public health menace.
Any serious effort to tackle malaria and other communicable diseases must thus start from this understanding: these diseases thrive in the face of weak health systems, and they do not respect national boundaries.