Thailand and Lao PDR are part of the Greater Mekong subregion, which has achieved significant progress in reducing the prevalence of malaria over the past two decades, with cases declining by 97% between 2000 and 2020.
However, malaria elimination is increasingly urgent in these countries due to the evolution and expansion of multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum parasites, which put millions of people at risk and threaten progress made to date.
Strong malaria surveillance, which includes collecting high-quality data on cases, affected communities, and antimalarial drug resistance, is essential to reaching elimination. In 2015, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) launched Inform Asia: USAID’s Health Research Program (2015-2023) with funding from the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative, to support Thailand and Lao PDR in their goals of achieving malaria-free status by 2024 and 2030, respectively.
Implemented by RTI, Inform Asia has worked hand in hand with Thailand’s Division of Vector Borne Diseases (DVBD) and Lao PDR’s Centre for Malariology, Parasitology and Entomology (CMPE) to strengthen malaria surveillance systems, evaluate strategies and tools for the scale-up of malaria elimination, and improve the ability of national malaria programs to generate, analyze, and use strategic data for decision-making. Since mid-2020, Inform Asia’s support has focused on Thailand to accelerate results by its 2024 target.
Strengthening Malaria Surveillance Systems
We leverage expertise in information technology and epidemiology to help ensure that malaria surveillance systems in Thailand and Lao PDR are robust and user-friendly and capable of analyzing data, which is critical to developing evidence-based policy that can save lives.
Inform Asia supports Thailand’s DVBD to strengthen their malaria information system and adapt to the country’s changing epidemiology. Support has included integrating case-based malaria data into a single national database (Malaria Online), designing new web-based analytics and interactive dashboards to facilitate improved planning and decision-making, and training public health staff how to use and take ownership of the system. We continue to partner to improve the quality and completeness of case notification data and response.