In the Asia Pacific region, countries share the additional challenge of controlling and eliminating Plasmodium vivax, a malaria parasite that is not well understood, and for which few drugs and interventions have been developed. The Malaria Elimination Initiative works with national malaria programs in Asia pacific at both a regional and national level.
At the national level, the Malaria Elimination Initiative supports national malaria programs in nine countries in the region—Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam—to document and disseminate their experience in pursuing elimination, conduct operational research, assess drug safety, obtain funding for elimination, and develop and implement robust elimination strategic plans.
Working with the University of Queensland and other partners, the Malaria Elimination Initiative co-convenes the Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network (APMEN), a network of 17 countries in the Asia Pacific, as well as partner institution representatives from academic, development, government, nongovernmental and private sectors, and global agencies. Partner countries include Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vanuatu and Vietnam.
By providing direct links with country program managers, APMEN and the Malaria Elimination Initiative work closely with the Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance to streamline regional efforts to increase political commitment for malaria elimination, particularly after Asia Pacific heads of state declared a goal to be malaria-free by 2030.
In partnership with the University of Queensland and the Jiangsu of Parasitic Diseases, the Malaria Elimination Initiative convenes the APMEN Surveillance and Response Working Group, a sub-group of APMEN that focuses directly on the surveillance and response strategies and challenges in low-transmission settings.
Launched on World Malaria Day 2010, the APMEN Fellowship Program aims to equip the next generation of leaders from the Asia Pacific region with the training to guide malaria elimination in the critical coming decades. The program also aims to strengthen partnerships and lesson-sharing among APMEN Country Partners and research institutions. Individuals from the APMEN partner countries may submit applications for a 1-3 month, short-term training opportunity with a partner country malaria program or partner institution.
In 2014, the Malaria Elimination Initiative hosted Fellowship Recipient Dr. Prayuth Sudathip, a Public Health Technical Officer in the Epidemiology and Monitoring and Evaluation Department of the National Malaria Program in the Thailand Ministry of Public Health. During his fellowship, Dr. Sudathip used the current Thailand web-based malaria information system to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of reactive case detection using a tool developed by the Malaria Elimination Initiative.
In 2010, APMEN launched a Research Grant Program, which fosters the development of new malaria elimination tools in the Asia Pacific region. The program's first grant round is funding research related to P. vivax malaria, a type of malaria parasite that is difficult to diagnose and treat due its persistent stage of liver infection.