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Washington, D.C., November  9, 2012 (PAHO/WHO)- Three government-supported anti-malaria programs from Paraguay, Brazil, and Ecuador were named Malaria Champions of the Americas this week for their success in reducing the burden of malaria through improved diagnosis, treatment, and surveillance.

 
 

The winners were honored during an event marking the 6th annual Malaria Day in the Americas, at the headquarters of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO).

The top Malaria Champion of the Americas award went to the National Malaria Control Program of Paraguay, which has reduced the burden of malaria by focusing on the elimination of local transmission and the use of a systematic model for testing, treating, and tracking malaria cases that emphasizes community volunteers, strategic supervision, support of personnel, assurance of quality services, and effective use of local resources.

Paraguay’s National Malaria Control Program (SENEPA) is geographically decentralized into 18 zones and 40 sectors, effectively covering all departments and districts. Its surveillance system consists of a network of 4,868 volunteers working in coordination with local reporting units to ensure timely detection of suspicious cases.  As of 2011, the number of malaria cases reported in Paraguay was down 99% compared with 2002. The country’s last malaria-related death was reported in 1989.

Two other programs were also named Malaria Champions of the Americas 2012. The State Health Department of Acre, Brazil, was honored for its integrated malaria control program, which has helped reduce malaria cases from 140.2 per 1,000 inhabitants in 2006 to 30.8 per 1,000 in 2011.

Ecuador’s Malaria Control and Surveillance program was recognized for helping reduce malaria incidence by 70% over the past two years through efforts to strengthen diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up and to eliminate local transmission where feasible.

“It’s our hope that it gets better for our countries in terms of reducing malaria cases and deaths,” said Dr. Mirta Roses Periago, Director of PAHO/WHO. Countries of the Americas have committed to further reduce malaria-related cases, implement efforts to eliminate malaria in areas deemed feasible, reverse the trend in countries that saw an increased number of malaria cases; and prevent the reintroduction in countries declared malaria-free.

“These are tall commitments and orders, especially because oftentimes when things have significantly improved, there is a tendency to slow down, think that we have done enough, and believe that the battle is won. Also sometimes, the choices and priorities we make inadvertently place our achievers at a disadvantage instead of recognizing them for their good work,” Dr. Roses said. “In many cases, when we reduce malaria burden, funding and resources for these programs also diminish. This is a huge mistake especially if our goal is to eliminate local malaria transmission”.     

The countries of the Americas have significantly decreased their malaria burden over the past decade. The number of malaria cases in the Region declined by 59% between 2000 and 2011, and the number of malaria-related deaths declined by 70%. Despite these achievements, malaria transmission persists in 21 countries, and some 23 million people in the Region continue to be at risk. Malaria experts warn that countries that have succeeded in lowering their malaria burdens are particularly at risk of reduced support and commitment from various stakeholders.

Participants in a panel discussion organized for Malaria Day in the Americas noted that funding has increased over the past decade for prevention efforts, such as long-lasting insecticide-treated nets and indoor residual spraying. However, less attention has been paid to the need to expand diagnostic testing, treatment, and surveillance. Malaria experts say that these three areas are critical for advancing the Millennium Development Goals and the objective set by the World Health Assembly to reduce the burden of malaria by at least 75% by 2015. Through its T3 initiative (Test. Treat. Track.), PAHO/WHO encourages partners, donors, and malaria-endemic countries to substantially increase investment in diagnostic testing, treatment and surveillance capacity, coverage and infrastructure.

“Highlighting the best practices and great work that our Malaria Champions this year in Brazil, Ecuador, and Paraguay are doing is one way to catalyze improvement in other countries. The replication of these best practices when appropriate in other parts of the world is really the best reward possible,” said PAHO Deputy Director, Dr. Jon Andrus. “If done well, as our Champions have demonstrated this past year, elimination of local transmission of malaria in many areas can and will happen”. Assistant Director, Dr. Socorro Gross called to “protect the gains” and keep investing in the battle against malaria to achieve the elimination of this disease.

PAHO/WHO also supports member countries’ malaria efforts through its coordination of the Amazon Malaria Initiative (AMI) and the Amazon Network for the Surveillance of Antimalarial Drug Resistance (RAVREDA), which have received financial support from USAID since 2001. PAHO/WHO signed a new agreement with USAID this year to continue supporting AMI/RAVREDA and ensure technical cooperation that helps countries further reduce the malaria burden. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has also supported several PAHO member states in the areas of microscopy diagnosis, rapid diagnostic tests; the introduction of artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), and improvement of malaria surveillance.

Launched in 2007, Malaria Day in the Americas aims to raise awareness, build commitment, and mobilize action to advance malaria goals and targets at the global, regional, country, and community levels. The Malaria Champions of the Americas contest, launched in 2008, seeks to identify, celebrate, and provide avenues to emulate best practices and success stories in malaria prevention and control. Both initiatives are organized each year by PAHO/WHO, the Pan American Health and Education Foundation (PAHEF), and George Washington University’s Center for Global Health.

PAHO, which celebrates its 110th anniversary this year, is the oldest international public health organization in the world. It works with its member countries to improve the health and the quality of life of the people of the Americas. It also serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO).

 

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Media Contacts:  

Leticia Linn, linnl@paho.org, Tel. + 202 974 3440, Mobile +1 202 701 4005, Donna Eberwine-Villagran, eberwind@paho.org, Tel. +1 202 974 3122, Mobile +1 202 316 5469, Sebastián Oliel, oliels@paho.org, Phone +1 202 974 3459, Mobile 202 316 5679, Knowledge Management and Communications, PAHO/WHO–www.paho.org

Last Updated on Friday, 09 November 2012 13:37


2014

“Malaria Champions of the Americas” extends deadline for nominating best practices on integrated efforts against vector-borne disease (06/25/2014)

Malaria Champions

The deadline for nominating innovative malaria initiatives to compete in this year’s “Malaria Champions of the Americas” contest has been extended to June 30.

"Malaria Champions of the Americas" seeks best practices on integrated efforts against vector-borne disease (04/25/2014)

Malaria initiatives that are integrated into programs for the control of vector-borne diseases are eligible to compete in this year's "Malaria Champions of the Americas" contest, which gets under way today, on World Malaria Day, April 25. Nominations may be submitted until June 23.

"Small bites can be big threats," experts warn on World Health Day (04/06/2014)

aedes

Mosquitoes, ticks, flies and other insects can be far more than a nuisance. The diseases they carry-malaria, dengue, yellow fever, West Nile virus, Lyme disease and many others-can cause serious illness and in some cases death. In the Americas, one out of every two people lives in an area at risk of one or more of these vector-borne diseases.

Half the population of the Americas is at risk of diseases carried by small insects (04/04/2014)

Call to Action: “Step up the fight against vector-borne diseases in the Americas” (03/31/2014)

PAHO Director Message on World Health Day 2014 (03/18/2014)

2013

PAHO Director thanks international malaria partners at U.S. Capitol (12/12/2013)

Countries of the Americas have reduced malaria deaths by 70% since 2000, but 145 million people in the region remain at risk (12/11/2013)

Malaria is present in 21 countries in the Americas (12/11/2013)

Projects from Colombia, Brazil and the Dominican Republic are honored as "Malaria Champions of the Americas 2013" (11/07/2013)

PAHO to honor Malaria Champions of the Americas on 7th Annual Malaria Day in the Americas (11/04/2013)

Malaria in the Americas Forum 2013: Defeating Malaria in the Americas (10/22/2013)

“Malaria Champions of the Americas” contest receives nominations until July 5 (06/17/2013)

PAHO/WHO to support Guyana and Suriname in studies of resistance to artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) (05/10/2013)

“Malaria Champions of the Americas” contest seeks best practices that integrate other health solutions (04/25/2013)

World Malaria Report 2012 (01/10/2013)

2012

In the Americas, malaria cases have declined nearly 60% since 2000 (12/20/2012)

PAHO Honors 2012 Malaria Champions of the Americas (11/09/2012)

On 6th Annual Malaria Day in the Americas, PAHO Will Honor Malaria Champions of the Americas (11/05/2012)

2011

World Malaria Report 2011 (12/15/2011)

PAHO Honors Malaria Champions of the Americas 2011 (11/09/2011)

Países de las Américas acordaron plan para reducir la malaria, prevenir su reintroducción y mantener los logros (09/29/2011)

AMI/RAVREDA celebró 10 años de lucha contra la malaria en el Amazonas (09/15/2011)

Celebrating 10 Years of Collaboration: Looking into the Future Together (09/12/2011)

AMI+RAVREDA Celebrating Ten Years of Collaboration: Looking into the Future Together (09/03/2011)

“Malaria Champions of the Americas” Seeks Nominations of Integrated Approaches and Synergies in Efforts against Malaria (04/26/2011)

2010

News and Media Information about "Malaria Day in the Americas 2010" (11/12/2010)

Interview with Dr. Carter (PAHO) and Dr.Yeny Herrera (Peru) on WALO Radio (Puerto Rico) about the "Malaria Day in the Americas 2010" (11/12/2010)

PAHO Names "Malaria Champions of the Americas 2010" (11/04/2010)

PAHO Celebrates Fourth Annual “Malaria Day in the Americas," Recognizes “Malaria Champions" (10/29/2010)

Expertos en resistencia a los antimaláricos se reúnen en Panamá (07/14/2010)

World Malaria Day: Counting Malaria Out (04/28/2010)

Malaria Burden More than Halved in the Americas (04/22/2010)

2009

PAHO Honors "Malaria Champions of the Americas 2009" (10/25/2009)

PAHO, PAHEF, and The George Washington University launch the Malaria Champions of the Americas Award (06/16/2009)

PAHO, PAHEF, and The George Washington University launch the Malaria Champions of the Americas Award (06/16/2009)

2008

Malaria in the Americas: No Time to Ease Up (11/06/2008)

2005

Photos: Meeting of National Directors of Epidemiology and Malaria Programs (11/11/2005)

Meeting of National Directors of Epidemiology and Malaria Programs (11/11/2005)

Vth Meeting of the Surveillance Network for Emerging Infectious Diseases in the Amazon Countries (04/23/2005)

2004

Third Joint Meeting of the Networks for Surveillance of Emerging Infectious Diseases (03/01/2004)

2002

2nd Meeting of the Surveillance Network for Emerging Diseases in the Amazon and Southern Cone Regions (03/25/2002)

2nd Meeting of the Surveillance Network for Emerging Diseases in the Amazon and Southern Cone Regions (03/25/2002)

2nd Meeting of the Surveillance Network for Emerging Diseases in the Amazon and Southern Cone Regions (03/25/2002)

2nd Meeting of the Surveillance Network for Emerging Diseases in the Amazon and Southern Cone Regions (03/25/2002)

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