Wolly Gerson (right) and daughter Racheal Orim are volunteers in Burnet's malaria at home project in Matalua Village, East New Britain, PNG.
Burnet Institute Head of the Centre for Biomedical Research, Professor James Beeson writes for the latest edition of IMPACT about the momentum towards malaria elimination.
Below is an excerpt of Professor Beeson’s article which you can view online or subscribe today!
In an era of emerging resistance to frontline treatment drugs and vector control interventions, there is a renewed commitment by the malaria community, global leaders and major funding organisations towards malaria elimination.
Short term, the goal is to eliminate the deadly disease from as many regions as possible, and ultimately to achieve global eradication.
Major gains in reducing the global malaria burden have been achieved in the past decade through increased control measures such as insecticide-treated bed nets, access to early diagnosis and effective treatment, and increasing the use of the most effective group of antimalarial drugs, artemisinins (typically artesunate, artemether, or dihyroartemisinin).
However, malaria remains a major health issue, affecting an estimated 219 million people each year, mostly in the regions closest to Australia and where Burnet works, such as Papua New Guinea (PNG), Myanmar, Lao PDR, Timor-Leste, Indonesia and sub-Saharan Africa.
While the recent reduction in malaria burden is a tremendous achievement, there are major challenges ahead to progress towards malaria elimination.
Ongoing innovative research to develop and evaluate novel antimalarial drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics is needed, along with developing new strategies for malaria elimination and surveillance in affected populations.
Burnet’s malaria program is strongly aligned with the global vision for malaria elimination. Our research is addressing several key areas and activities that aim to strengthen malaria control and build capacity in PNG, Myanmar and Timor-Leste.