As the first major effort of its kind, the Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network (APMEN) was established in 2009 to bring attention and support to the under-appreciated and little-known work of malaria elimination in Asia Pacific, with a particular focus on Plasmodium vivax.
APMEN is composed of fourteen Asia Pacific countries (Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Republic of Korea, the Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vanuatu and Vietnam) that are pursuing malaria elimination, as well leaders and experts from key multilateral and academic agencies. The mission of this diverse but cohesive Network is to collaboratively address the unique challenges of malaria elimination in the region through leadership, advocacy, capacity building, knowledge exchange, and building the evidence base.
History of malaria elimination in the Asia Pacific region
In the 1960s and 70s, several countries in the Asia Pacific Region achieved, and have since maintained, malaria free status: Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan. But malaria persisted and remains a major problem for large parts of the region. Fortunately, the last decade has seen a renewed commitment for malaria control. As a result of intensified efforts and improving socioeconomic conditions, many countries in the Asia Pacific Region have made great strides and are now moving toward elimination. However, elimination requires a different strategy than sustained control. Furthermore, the Asia Pacific Region has the unique challenges of having a high proportion of Plasmodium vivax (P. vivax) infections, and the persistent liver stage makes P. vivax less vulnerable than Plasmodium falciparum to elimination efforts.
Given the limited venues for Asia Pacific countries and institutions to interact on issues pertaining to malaria elimination, the concept for APMEN was catalyzed. Development of the Network took place in 2008 through the leadership of the UCSF Global Health Group (GHG), directed by Sir Richard Feachem, in partnership with the School of Population Health, University of Queensland (SPH/UQ), the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), and in close collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO). The announcement of the inaugural meeting was made by the then Australian Prime Minster Kevin Rudd at the September 2008 United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York. View the announcement here.