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Challenges for eliminating vivax malaria from the Asia-Pacific region – the Papuan experience

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12 October 2009

Abstract: Recent calls for the elimination of global malaria have brought fresh impetus to the fight against malaria, driven by a growing appreciation of the humanitarian and economic magnitude of the problem and new funding initiatives. The ultimate elimination of malaria will demand the radical cure of malaria and for this reason P. vivax presents a far greater challenge compared to P. falciparum. Outside of Africa effective control of falciparum malaria usually reveals a substantial hidden burden of vivax malaria, with an associated rise in relative proportion of malaria due to P. vivax. In the coming decades P. vivax is set to become the dominant Plasmodium species in much of the malaria endemic world. Our ability to prevent this is limited by a poor understanding of the fundamental biology, pathogenesis, transmission, and management of P. vivax, which lags far behind that of P. falciparum. Immediate critical challenges for control of P. vivax include increasing resistance to chloroquine, a limited ability to provide radical cure of dormant liver stages, and poor epidemiologic assessment measures. In this presentation Dr Price will highlight the experience of a large scale malaria control programme in Papua, Indonesia and reflect on how their findings raise important issues that must be addressed if the malaria elimination efforts are to succeed.

 

Ric Price

Menzies School of Health Research