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FROM AMITA'S DESK

Dear friends and partners,
 
As the global response to COVID-19 kicks into high gear, it is now more critical than ever that we sustain malaria service delivery in our region. A recent analysis conducted by WHO estimates a doubling of malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa this year due to disruptions in bednet distribution campaigns and in access to malaria medicines. The Asia Pacific region has made significant progress towards malaria elimination in the past two decades, and now is not the time to move backwards. 
 
The updated
2019 APLMA Leaders’ Dashboard, that tracks the region’s progress using eight milestones from the APLMA Leaders’ Malaria Elimination Roadmap, shows several countries have been on track for all milestones since 2018 – a sure sign of continued progress in the region. It is important to ensure that we do not lose the significant gains made in these countries and that focussed attention, effort and support are available to ensure these countries stay on track.
 
At APMEN, we are truly embracing the new virtual way of working and have launched APMEN TechTalks and APMENxChange series of webinars to support malaria programs and partners in continuing their efforts during this challenging time. These webinars provide a platform for discussing technical topics of interest and sharing of information around ongoing research and implementation related to malaria control and elimination.
 
We look forward to hearing from you and hope to see you on an APMEN webinar soon. 
 
Stay well and stay safe.
 
Amita

Amita Chebbi 
Senior Director – APMEN

APMEN BLOGS
Myanmar Volunteers
Malaria civil society's call to action on World Malaria Day 2020
 
On World Malaria Day, Malaria CSOs in the GMS called for continuity of malaria services with protection of frontline malaria workers in the context of COVID-19 pandemic. (Read more)
APMENxChange
APMENxChange webinar on 'Sustaining malaria services during a pandemic'

The inaugural APMENxChange webinar, supported by the WHO and the Ministry of Health, Malaysia, showcased WHO’s guidance to national malaria programs (NMPs) and the experiences of an NMP in ensuring continuity of malaria service delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Read more)
Techtalks
APMEN TechTalks: Learning in the time of COVID-19
 
In observance of World Malaria Day 2020, APMEN launched the APMEN TechTalks – a series of webinars for discussing technical topics of interest and research related to malaria elimination. The first APMEN TechTalks, supported by the APMEN Vector Control Working Group, discussed various sampling methods for adult malaria vectors. (Read more)
Zero Malaria
Zero Malaria: Voices from Asia-Pacific
 
To mark World Malaria Day 2020, APMEN and APLMA launched a regional digital campaign to highlight the opportunities and challenges of malaria elimination. The series features 26 voices from Asia-Pacific. (Videos)
ANNOUNCEMENTS
APLMA Leaders' Dashboard
 
The new Asia Pacific Leaders’ Malaria Alliance (APLMA) Leaders' Dashboard is out! Click here to view the region’s progress along 8 milestones from the Leaders’ Roadmap to elimination. The Dashboard is a mechanism to track progress and achievements in malaria control and elimination across Asia and the Pacific. It highlights successes and remaining policy bottlenecks and serves as a key advocacy tool to leverage continued support for malaria elimination.
 
Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka and China remain on track for all milestones since 2018. Great progress has been achieved across the rest of region as well, including in Bhutan, Cambodia and Myanmar with new elimination task forces established, Timor-Leste and Viet Nam where case reporting occurs across all providers including the private sector, and Lao PDR and Vanuatu with new legislation in place to make malaria a notifiable disease.
 
The Dashboard will be shared across ministries in the next few weeks to highlight these successes and sustain the momentum towards the 2030 elimination goal.
 
If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us at
dashboard@aplma.org.
Thailand approves new radical cure for vivax malaria
 
Thailand is the first country in Asia to register tafenoquine, a new single-dose radical cure for relapsing malaria. The important milestone was announced in March 2020. (Read more)
Plasmodium vivax in the era of the shrinking P. falciparum map
 
The timely elimination of malaria requires widespread access to safe and effective radical cure. Menzies researchers have been tracking trends in the rise of P. vivax and how best to treat it. (Read more)
A systematic review and meta-analysis on new point of care tests
 
Safe and effective radical cure of malaria will require better ways of testing for G6PD deficiency. In a large collaborative study a paper in PLoS Medicine, by Danial Pfeffer, highlights substantial variation between research laboratories using the current gold standard method (spectrophotometry). The study highlights challenges but also opportunities for new point of care tests. (Read more)
ACREME webinar
 
A webinar on designing chloroquine dosing regimens for COVID-19 clinical trials was recently delivered by colleagues from ACREME. (Video)
UPCOMING EVENTS 
APMEN TechTalks
"Forest goers and outdoor transmission: What to do about it?"
9 Jun 2020, 4:00pm SGT

APMENxChange
"Continuing malaria services during the COVID-19 pandemic: Experiences from Civil Society Organizations"
15 Jun 2020, 2:00pm SGT

10 Years to Elimination: Launch of APLMA Leaders Dashboard 2019
18 Jun 2020, 1:00-2:30pm SGT

APMEN TechTalks
"Optimizing radical cure for vivax malaria: Informing policy and practice"
Last week of Jun 2020


American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) 69th Annual Meeting
15-19 Nov 2020, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
https://www.astmh.org/annual-meeting

Joint International Tropical Medicine Meeting (JITMM) 2020 Virtual Conference
15-16 Dec 2020
http://www.jitmm.com
MALARIA STORIES
SciDev
COVID-19 threat to drug chains for malaria, other diseases
 
With the lockdown of entire countries, global supply chains of health commodities are at risk. Developing countries worry about shortages for diseases like malaria, HIV/AIDS and TB. (Read more)
Myanmar Testing
Global Fund issues new guidance in response to COVID-19
 
The Global Fund encourages countries to reprogram savings from existing grants and to redeploy underutilized resources to mitigate the potential negative consequences of COVID-19 on health and health systems. (Read more)
Devex
How is COVID-19 affecting malaria programs?
 
The global malaria community is exploring options to continue operations while protecting health care workers amid the threat of the novel coronavirus outbreak. (Read more)
Man sleeping under the bednet
Mekong countries on track to eliminate malaria by 2030
 
Prof Arjen Dondorp shares the big stride of the Mekong countries towards malaria elimination, but warns that complacency in times of COVID-19 will spell disaster for the region. (Read more)
Cambodia
'The good news around malaria elimination in Southeast Asia'
 
Dr Leo Braack explains how the global fight against the disease is progressing, and why Southeast Asia has a reason for optimism. (Read more)
PUBLICATIONS
Book

Malaria: Biology in the Era of Eradication. (Edited by Dyann Wirth, Harvard School of Public Health; Pedro Alonso, University of Barcelona)

Reports

Community-based health care, including outreach and campaigns, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. WHO 2020.
 
COVID-19: Operational guidance for maintaining essential health services during an outbreak. WHO 2020.
 
Jointly addressing endemic malaria and pandemic COVID-19. WHO 2020.
 
Malaria eradication: benefits, future scenarios & feasibility. WHO 2020.
 
National action plan for acceleration of malaria elimination 2020-2024. Directorate General of Disease and Prevention, Ministry of Health, Republic of Indonesia 2020.

Q&A: Malaria and COVID-19. WHO 2020.
 
Tailoring malaria interventions in the COVID-19 response. WHO 2020.
 
The potential impact of health service disruptions on the burden of malaria: a modelling analysis for countries in sub-Saharan Africa. WHO 2020.

Research articles

A spatio-temporal analysis to identify the drivers of malaria transmission in Bhutan. Wangdi K, et al. Scientific Reports 2020.
 
Association between the proportion of Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax infections detected by passive surveillance and the magnitude of the asymptomatic reservoir in the community: a pooled analysis of paired health facility and community data. Stresman G, et al. The Lancet Infectious Diseases 2020.
 
Classification of induced malaria case in an elimination setting: investigation of transfusion-transmitted malaria cases. Zhang M, et al. Malaria Journal 2020.
 
Diagnosing malaria and other febrile illnesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dittrich S, et al. The Lancet Global Health 2020.
 
District-level approach for tailoring and targeting interventions: a new path for malaria control and elimination. Gosling R, et al. Malaria Journal 2020.
 
Effectiveness of reactive focal mass drug administration and reactive focal vector control to reduce malaria transmission in the low malaria-endemic setting of Namibia: a cluster-randomised controlled, open-label, two-by-two factorial design trial. Hsiang MS, et al. The Lancet 2020.
 
Malaria elimination in China: improving county-level malaria personnel knowledge of the 1-3-7 strategy through tabletop exercises. Cao Y, et al. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 2020.
 
Tools to accelerate falciparum malaria elimination in Cambodia: a meeting report. Lek D, et al. Malaria Journal 2020.

The APMEN Newsletter is a bi-monthly compilation of stories from the Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network. The next issue will be on July 20 (Monday) and will receive newsletter items by July 10 (Friday). Kindly send to newsletter@apmen.org.

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