As malaria programs pursue the elimination of P. falciparum (Pf) malaria, the challenges brought about by P. vivax (Pv) become more apparent in the Asia Pacific, a region with 22 malaria-endemic countries. Studies have shown an increased risk of Pv after the treatment of Pf malaria in co-endemic regions, suggesting benefit of universal radical cure for both parasites in some areas.
On July 3, 2020, the APMEN Vivax Working Group (VxWG) hosted an APMEN TechTalks webinar to share current updates and focus attention on the issue of radical cure for vivax malaria. Along with a series of presentations by technical experts, 3 country representatives (Cambodia, Malaysia and Pakistan) formed an expert panel to discuss the opportunities and challenges of implementing radical cure for vivax malaria in their countries.
Prof. Ric Price, Co-Chair of the APMEN VxWG, opened the event with the presentation “Radical Cure for P. vivax Elimination”, providing an overview of the current burden of Pv malaria in the region. The challenges in delivering radical cure for Pv malaria was also discussed, including the role of VxWG is supporting national malaria programs in this area. He highlighted the essential role of an integrated package of interventions tailored to the local context and socio-political environment to eliminate vivax malaria.
Prof. Kamini Mendis followed up by sharing her account of the ‘successful country experiences and approaches implementing radical cure for P. vivax’. She provided good examples out of Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, and Bhutan, countries that have successfully implemented radical cure, and to some extent, even eliminated Pv. These countries’ experiences show that adherence to a 14-day Primaquine regimen can be facilitated by proper counselling, supportive supervision and directly observed treatment. She also shared the importance of point of care testing during re-establishment phase of malaria.
Dr. Kamala Thriemer, Technical Coordinator of VxWG, gave the last presentation, which provided a summary of APMEN VxWG’s roundtable discussions held in last year’s annual working group meeting in Nepal. Discussion points were raised as to the policy pathways for the different options for radical cure.
Drs. Kamala Thriemer and Caroline Lynch then co-moderated an interactive panel discussion and Q&A session, which brought together the different expertise and perspectives on addressing vivax elimination, in both realms of policy and practice.
You may revisit the in-depth discussions through the following:
Access the recording HERE.
Download the speakers' presentations HERE.