In wake of the world Mosquito Day on August 20, the APLMA released an interesting infographic and information in order to educate people on how to stay safe and prevent mosquito transmitted diseases.
The official document by the CEO of APLMA states that the fight against mosquito-borne diseases in Asia is at a critical moment in time as over the last few years diseases like Malaria, Dengue and Zika have made big headlines and endangered many families.
The increasing impact of globalisation, urbanisation and climate change means the region remains in jeopardy of significant and disruptive outbreaks of mosquito-borne infectious diseases. Faced with this region-wide challenge, it is time for countries in Asia to unite together against the spread of such diseases.
Therefore APLMA aims to use Mosquito day to provide information and reminders to governments, interest groups and local communities in regards to the importance of disease reduction and the fight of the mosquito problem.
The battle against mosquito-borne diseases is daunting. For example, malaria is endemic in 19 Asian countries with more than two billion people at risk of catching the disease. Asia is also the region with the highest incidence of dengue in the world, with cycles of epidemics occurring every three to five years.
Knowing those wide-ranging and long-term consequences it becomes clearly visible that countries and governments have to work together in order to move forward in tackling challenges brought upon them by mosquito-bred diseases. As APLMA states this, however, will require real commitment from all levels of government focusing on health security, sustainable financing and access to medicine. Luckily we saw a few positive steps forward over the past few years.
The Asia Pacific Leaders’ Malaria Alliance (APLMA), an affiliation of Asian and Pacific heads of government formed specifically to accelerate progress against malaria and to eliminate the disease in the region by 2030, for example, was born out of such a collaboration. So was the ASEAN Strategic Framework for Health Development and the Expert Group on Communicable Diseases, which focuses on endemic vector-borne diseases particular to the region, such as dengue and malaria.
These initiatives illustrate the benefit of a comprehensive and integrated strategy in which businesses, governments and international organisations all have roles to play. They help to reduce the impact of disease outbreaks by reinforcing preparedness planning at a collective regional level, and help establish public-private partnerships to exploit the reach and resources of the private sector.
A positive example of the effectiveness of such collaborations could be seen in Sri Lanka which was declared malaria free by the WHO in September of 2016.
Another positive example comes from China where malaria elimination seems to be close at hand, with only 56 indigenous cases reported in 2014, compared to over 24 million cases in the early 1970s.
However it’s not all good as there are other mosquito-borne diseases that challenge both countries’ health systems. Sri Lanka is currently dealing with its worst dengue fever outbreak and in China, a recent spike in imported cases of yellow fever has been noted.
It becomes rather obvious that a country all by itself won’t be able to get rid of all mosquito-born diseases and that collaboration is crucial for success in this matter. Therefore APLMA suggests to integrate regional and national planning, expand public-private partnerships, and introduce better regulatory mechanisms in order to achieve effective Asian solutions against all mosquito-borne diseases.
Moving forward, leaders in the region need to ramp up efforts in the provision of universal access to disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
What is APLMA?
- APLMA is an affiliation of Asian and Pacific heads of government formed to accelerate progress against malaria and to eliminate it in the region by 2030.
- APLMA is a high level political advocacy platform established to accelerate political commitment, mobilize country and regional action, and track progress to reduce malaria in line with global targets. APLMA also aims to support efforts to eliminate resistance to the front line malaria drug, artemisinin.
- The Mission of the secretariat is to translate this strong political commitment into action. The APLMA envisions The Asia Pacific Region free of Malaria and reduced risk from other communicable diseases.
Let’s use August 20, World Mosquito Day, to think about how each and everyone of us can play his/her part in fighting mosquito-born diseases as well as educate others about current problems in this regard in order to move towards a future where mosquito-born diseases will be a thing of the past.