Since 2012, malaria cases in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) have been reduced by 87% and deaths reduced by 99%. This is thanks to three Global Fund grants, totalling USD 585 million, the most recent of which is the Regional Artemisinin-resistance Initiative 3: Elimination (RAI3E). Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Global Fund also supported the region through the COVID-19 Response Mechanism.
The region is historically the cradle for antimalarial drug resistance, including in the most lethal malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. Eliminating these parasites from the region will also eliminate this threat to all malaria endemic countries.
Key to the success of the RAI have been the regional approach, bringing together a diverse group of committed Governments, health practitioners and policymakers, scientists, donors and private-sector partners to eliminate malaria in the GMS; and a community-level network of more than 35,000 malaria workers who provide services in the communities they know best.
Investing in completing malaria elimination will yield significant health and economic dividends, reducing morbidity and mortality and freeing up resources for other health priorities in the mid- to long-term.
Nonetheless, the progress made is fragile and we must maintain momentum to decisively address malaria in the GMS.
The stakeholders represented on the RAI Regional Steering Committee (RSC) include recipient governments, multilateral agencies, technical partners, funders, civil-society and faith-based organisations, research institutes, private sector, and affected communities.