GUATEMALA: LA GOMERA, DEPARTAMENTO DE ESCUINTLA
With the objective of contributing in the implementation of Guatemala’s National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination 2018–2022, a technical team for the elimination of malaria was established in the Department of Escuintla to implement the diagnosis, treatment, investigation and response (DTI-R) strategy, particularly in the municipality of La Gomera which accounts for approximately 50% of all malaria cases in the country. Through microstratification and microplanning, the municipality managed to plan activities and organize human resources more effectively. Key malaria elimination interventions implemented include strengthening access to prompt diagnosis, supervised treatment, reactive case detection, and sustained capacity building, which resulted to approximately 50% decrease in cases since 2018. These were accomplished through the 186 trained volunteer collaborators, and in coordination with community leaders, churches, mass media, the sugar plantation industry, the private sector, and others. This malaria champion is an example of how changing operations from “business as usual” towards a tailored and problem-based approach, as well as strong collaborations with sectors beyond health partners can strongly position high burden areas on the way towards malaria elimination.