The Global Fund’s Regional Artemisinin-resistance Initiative (RAI) launched in 2014 in response to the emergence of artemisinin-resistant P falciparum malaria in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS).
In the decade to 2023, reported cases of P falciparum in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam have been reduced by 91% and reported deaths from all types of malaria have been reduced by 95%. This is thanks to the Global Fund’s investment of more than $700 million in eliminating malaria in the sub-region and to intensive regional collaboration among the countries.
The GMS has historically been the cradle of antimalarial drug resistance and this robust approach has drastically reduced the risk of a spread to other regions of the world. It has also put several countries on the brink of malaria elimination, almost freeing their populations from the fear and reality of the disease and bringing significant health and economic dividends.
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.
The current cycle of the RAI aims to consolidate this progress, eliminate P falciparum from the GMS, then eliminate P vivax and other forms of human malaria, and put in place the systems needed to prevent re-establishment of malaria transmission. This will require a steely focus of all RAI partners as the elimination “end game” presents new challenges.
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.