Activities for the monitoring and containment of artemisinin resistance

Successful containment of artemisinin resistant parasites will require urgent and coordinated action by a consortium of partners, including affected countries, funders, implementing agencies and global malaria partners. WHO is providing technical support to target countries in a number of areas including:

  • increasing access to malaria services for migrant and mobile populations;
  • fast-tracking research for containing and eliminating artemisinin resistance;
  • increasing access to quality antimalarial treatments;
  • improving malaria surveillance, including surveillance of the therapeutic efficacy of antimalarial medicines.

This technical support is being provided through the Regional hub, WHO Country Offices, Regional Offices and WHO Headquarters. Support for advocacy and fundraising is also provided.

Malaria in migrants and mobile populations

Containment of resistance as well as progress towards overall malaria elimination requires improved access to health services for migrant and mobile populations. While countries in the Greater Mekong subregion have reduced their overall malaria burden in recent years, malaria cases within marginalized groups represent a high proportion of the total cases. A regional WHO technical officer will be supporting partners in reviewing activities targeting migrant and mobile populations, as well as supporting the piloting of new interventions, and the expansion of ongoing interventions.

Research for the containment and elimination of artemisinin resistance

Containing and eventually eliminating artemisinin resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria will require that a range of technical questions and operational issues are addressed and resolved. A number of research projects are ongoing in the Greater Mekong subregion, including studies on delivering interventions for migrant and mobile populations, the use of innovative vector-control methods and the use of new technology for malaria surveillance.

WHO’s work across the region, conducted with national and international researchers, is being coordinated from the WHO Regional office for the Western Pacific to help ensure that new data is used to develop cost-effective strategies and interventions across the region, to shape the research agenda and to strengthen knowledge transfers and management.

Access to quality antimalarial treatments

WHO is strengthening its work with partners, governments and the private sector in the Greater Mekong subregion to monitor the availability of antimalarials and to halt the production and trade of oral artemisinin-based monotherapies, substandard and counterfeit medicines, while increasing the availability of quality-assured artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs).

Poor pharmaceutical regulation, and the continued trade of oral artemisinin-based monotherapies, substandard and counterfeit medicines put malaria patients at great risk and contribute to the development and spread of antimalarial drug resistance. Major issues related to the manufacture and sale of anti-malarial drugs cannot be addressed without a concerted regional effort. These efforts must include a continuous monitoring of the availability of oral artemisinin-based monotherapies, and substandard and counterfeit medicines.

Strengthen surveillance and data sharing

Targeting activities and ensuring that the activities have the intended effect requires strong national surveillance systems and rapid data-sharing capabilities. WHO provides additional technical support for the collection and use of data and good quality surveys in the countries of the Greater Mekong subregion. A regional database including the latest available malaria data will be made available to countries and partners to promote data sharing and transparency.

WHO provides technical support for therapeutic efficacy studies which are needed to track the efficacy of antimalarial treatments and helping to map the extent of artemisinin resistance. These are conducted in part through regional therapeutic efficacy networks covering both the Greater Mekong region and the other countries in Asia and Pacific region.