APMEN Newsroom


APMEN review highlights need for community engagement with mobile populations for elimination


A new paper, commissioned by the Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network (APMEN) and published in Malaria Journal, has reviewed the literature on malaria and population mobility and made recommendations for new ways for elimination programs to understand and address population mobility.

Authors Dr Catherine Smith and Professor Maxine Whittaker identified three key bodies of work related to mobile populations. These are:

1) mobility, economic development and shifting land use;

2) concerns about accessing mobile populations; and

3) imported and border malaria.

The authors say that while there is a large body of work that sees mobile populations as risk factors for malaria elimination, the literature tends to focus excessively on mobile populations as a threat to elimination and to overstate the difficulties of accessing mobile populations. The paper reviews methods that have been used by some malaria programs, and by HIV/AIDS programs to work with mobile populations. These include respondent driven sampling, the use of social networks and community participation.

The article recommends that elimination programs shift beyond a focus on mobile populations as an isolated demographic group, to look at mobility as a system that connects multiple localities and demographic groups. This will allow better understanding of the spatial dimensions of mobility and the connections that mobility creates between demographic groups. It will also help programs to identify access points into mobility systems.

The review was commissioned by the Network’s Country Partners after population mobility was identified as an emerging issue of importance to the Asia Pacific Region. An earlier draft of the paper was presented to the Network at the fourth annual meeting in Seoul, Republic of Korea in 2012. The review was updated this year.

The pdf of the paper, Beyond mobile populations: a critical review of the literature on malaria and population mobility and suggestions for future directions, can be found in Malaria Journal.



Alarming new research: Drug resistance has spread in SE Asia


Scientists from the Mahidol-Oxford University Research Unit (MORU) have published new findings in the New England Journal of Medicine on the spread of resistance to the world's leading antimalarial drug, artemisinin, to critical border areas in Southeast Asia.

Read the full press release via The Wellcome Trust website, http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/News/Media-office/Press-releases/2014/WTP056987.htm

Reference: Ashley EA et al. Spread of artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum malaria. New England Journal of Medicine 2014;371:411-23.



New APMEN Malaria Journal publications - July 2014


APMEN featured strongly in Malaria Journal in July, with two publications bringing attention to Plasmodium vivax in Central China, and the need to defeat Plasmodium falciparum in the Greater Mekong subregion.

Commentary: The challenge of artemisinin resistance can only be met by eliminating Plasmodium falciparum malaria across the Greater Mekong subregion 

Gueye et al. Malaria Journal 2014, 13:286

Researchers from the Malaria Elimination Initiative (University of California, San Francisco) and the APMEN Secretariat (University of Queensland) have co-authored a commentary piece on the challenges of drug resistance in the Greater Mekong subregion (GMS) in Asia, which comprises 5 APMEN Country Partners (Cambodia, China, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Thailand and Vietnam) and also Myanmar.

The authors identified that the rapid elimination of all Plasmodium falciparum parasites from the GMS is a most effective and efficient way to stop the spread of artemisinin resistance and "catalyze political and funding support" to achieve a subregional goal of malaria elimination.

View/download the Malaria Journal pdf here. (384 KB)


Genetic diversity and population structure of Plasmodium vivax in Central China

Liu et al. Malaria Journal 2014, 13:262 

In 2009, China initiated its malaria elimination program, setting the goal of elimination by 2020. Outbreaks of P. vivax in the early 2000’s highlight a major risk of resurgence with this species and the need for diligent surveillance if elimination is to be achieved.

This project led by Jiangsu Institute of Parasitic Diseases, with collaborators from the APMEN Partner Institutions[1] was based in Central China. It assessed the impact of the changing epidemiology of malaria on the local parasite population, including the potential for epidemic expansions and risks of future resurgences. Monitoring changes to the parasite population will help authorities to assess the impact of interventions and make informed decisions about where best to focus elimination efforts.


This work has shown there to be unstable transmission with limited barriers to gene flow between the central provinces. Despite a decline in cases, population diversity remained high, but the reservoirs sustaining this diversity are unclear.  Imported cases may contribute in part as a source of new infections.

For the malaria control program, this highlights a need for continued surveillance to detect imported cases and early warning signs of outbreaks which could lead to a resurgence of P. vivax.

The team concluded that genotyping is a valuable tool to inform authorities of emerging outbreaks, but that further studies are required to identify suitable marker panels for distinguishing local from imported P. vivax cases.

Read the Open Access article in Malaria Journal here.

[1] Australian Army Malaria Institute, Eijkman Institute, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Menzies School of Health Research




NIMPE interview: Vietnam’s malaria elimination goal

In April, a group of University of Queensland (UQ) journalism students visited Vietnam for 10 days as part of the UQ in Vietnam project.

UQ students Anna Hartley and John Bryant interviewed Dr Tran Nguyen Hung, Head of Entomology at the National Institute of Malaria, Parasitology, and Entomology (NIMPE) in Ho Chi Mihn, about his work with the national elimination strategy and APMEN.

Ms Hartley also spoke with APMEN co-coordinator Professor Maxine Whittaker, and Dr Tom Burkot, Orchestrator of VecNet and researcher for the Queensland Tropical Health Alliance in Cairns, Australia. 

Read Anna's full article and listen to her podcast online here.
Read John's article and listen to the podcast of his interview here [English/Vietnamese]


Challenges in Malaria Research program announced

The program for the third biennial Challenges in Malaria Research: Core science and innovation conference, taking place at Oxford University, UK from 22–24 September 2014, has been announced.


APMEN VI co-chair Sir Richard Feachem will deliver the keynote address entitled, "Malaria 2050: From science to strategy; from evidence to eradication". 

Key APMEN Partner Institution representatives will be also attending as conference presenters. Director of the Australian Army Malaria Institute Professor Dennis Shanks  will present "Antimalarial drugs for elimination: What do we have now and what is needed?" 

Also, Vivax Working Group co-chair Professor Ric Price, Dr Simon Hay from University of Oxford, and Dr Didier Ménard from Institut Pasteur du Cambodgeplus many more will present their insights into core science and innovation in malaria research – including Plasmodium vivax epidemiology; trends and impacts; G6PD deficiency; vaccines; genome mapping and molecular epidemiology; new clues for drug development; mathematical modelling; cutting edge in cell biology; new issues in clinical malaria and pathology.

For more information, visithttp://www.challenges-in-malaria-research.com/2014/ 

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