Bangladesh joins the Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network (APMEN) as Country Partner
APMEN brings together countries in the Asia Pacific region that have adopted a national or sub-national goal for malaria elimination, and connects them with a broad range of regional and global malaria partners to develop best practices for eliminating the disease. By strengthening linkages in eliminating countries, APMEN addresses important regional challenges such as Plasmodium vivax, and provides a forum for the discussion of important issues such as the spread of anti-malarial drug resistance.
Malaria remains endemic in 13 of the 64 districts in Bangladesh, and more than 13 million1 people are still at risk of the disease. Malaria control and elimination activities fall under the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The NMCP is currently aiming for malaria pre-elimination in four districts, with the goal of Bangladesh becoming malaria-free by 2020.
Director of Disease Control in Bangladesh and Public Health and Infectious Disease Specialist, Professor Be-Nazir Ahmed, expressed his gratitude towards APMEN at the formalization of this important partnership, saying that it is another step forward for Bangladesh and the region to eliminate the disease.
“Bangladesh is moving very quickly towards elimination after concerted national efforts to focus on malaria control,” Professor Be-Nazir said.
“By joining APMEN, Bangladesh now has many windows of opportunities to learn from other eliminating countries in our region as we face similar challenges.”
According to the World Health Organization, Bangladesh has reduced the number of confirmed malaria cases from nearly 440,000 in 2000 to less than 30,000 in 2012; a 93% overall decline2. The success is a result of intensive control interventions such as high coverage and increased use of insecticide-treated nets, increased use of rapid diagnostic tests and effective antimalarial treatment, as well as the deployment of a high number of community health workers in collaboration with NGOs and augmenting services at the health facilities. The combination of technical and human resource capacity serves as a strong example of how national and international efforts can lead to reduced malaria transmission3.
Bangladesh, like many other APMEN Country Partners, face many challenges en route to its national elimination goal of 2020, namely ensuring services reach mobile populations in highly endemic districts such as the Jhum cultivators4, and sustaining commitment by the government, communities and development partners to malaria control and elimination.
Malaria was nearly eliminated from Bangladesh pre-1970, but never disappeared in the eastern border regions which are associated with tea gardens and forests. These districts have international boundaries with the eastern states of India and partly with Myanmar. In the 1990s, malaria re-emerged as a major public health concern.
A key Bangladesh public health organization, the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b), joined APMEN as a Partner Institution in August 2013.
APMEN Joint Secretariat (UQ) Office, School of Population Health | Room 117 | Public Health Building, Herston Road | Herston Qld 4006| Australia, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Website: www.apmen.org | Phone (within Australia): 07 3365 5446 | Phone (from outside Australia): 61 7 3365 5446